These days, it seems like our social media platforms have become highlight reels of our lives, showcasing only the best, most beautiful, most fun, most filtered moments. If you don’t look good in a picture, you don’t ‘gram it. If the first 25 attempts at a Snapchat selfie don’t work, you keep going until you get that perfect shot. If you hate that cover photo you’re tagged in on Facebook, you hide it from your timeline.
But what this all means is that when we look at each other’s social media accounts, we are only seeing half the story. Nobody sees the bad hair days, the club you’re embarrassed to be in but secretly love, the skin break outs, when you cry over a grade, when you’re in a fight with your parents, when you feel sad, when you feel alone. People only see what you want them to see. And when you control this vision, the world isn’t seeing you as you are in your entirety. Enter Larissa May.
Larissa (fondly known as Larz), is a senior Theta at Vanderbilt University, and, among a dizzyingly vast list of other accomplishments and projects, she is the founder of a social media movement called #HALFTHESTORY.
The mission of #HALFTHESTORY is both simple and complex. It is simple in that it aims to encourage social media users (particularly on Instagram) to share the unseen other half of their story. The complex part? What people want to share. If you scroll through the #HALFTHESTORY Instagram account, you can see stories about almost anything. There are stories about battling depression or eating disorders. There are stories about unknown passions and projects that people used to keep secret. There are stories about simply dealing with the inevitable challenges and vulnerabilities that come with the journey of life. The point is, there is finally a movement to show the other half of the story.
As the pressure from society and the media to be perfect grows, it seems that now more than ever we need a project like #HALFTHESTORY. An Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat feed might only show someone smiling, with friends, traveling, eating amazing food, dressed up for frat parties, laughing in the early morning hours, hugging their significant other, or taking in the beautiful sights of the world. These are all great, happy things, but they are not everything. There is always another half to the story. And thanks to Larissa May and #HALFTHESTORY, now everyone can share it.