Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine about a mutual friend of ours. "I wish I could be like her", my friend said "she always seems so happy and put together. I'm not joking, I honestly think she has the perfect life."
If you were to look at the Instagram account of the girl we were talking about, you would indeed see what looks like the perfect life. Aesthetically laid out images of bottomless mimosa brunches, frequent gifts from a cute boyfriend, selfies showcasing flawless skin, mirror pictures of chic outfits with appearances by designer handbags and belts, and pictures taken in the middle of carefree laughter with friends, all coming together with a sort of down to earth, girl-next-door with everything any girl could ever want vibe.
However, despite the enviable content of her Instagram, I'd learned through conversations with this girl that it was all carefully curated. Everything was put together to maintain the public image that she was a happy-go-lucky, carefree girl. Any time she was sad or upset, there was no indication of these emotions on her Instagram-- everything she posted was carefully selected to give the appearance that she her life was, as cliche as it sounds, all sunshine and rainbows.
We all curate our online media presence though. Look through your Instagram-- I'm willing to bet that you don't post pictures where you don't feel camera-ready, don't post revealing, personal rants as captions, and you probably would never post anything you didn't feel comfortable telling others. Just like in our selfies, on Instagram (as well as on most other social media and online platforms), we feature our "good side". Think about it. Would you rather post "I tried so hard but I ended up failing my calc test" or "Treating myself to a hot cocoa after studying hard all week"?
We all want to feature the best parts of our lives, to show what's going well, and what we're proud of. We might frame pictures so that body parts that we're self-conscious about are out of frame, or use photo editing software to change them. We take photos featuring nice things we own, or at any sorts of events deemed "prestigious", such as invite-only or formal parties. We post photos of the good times rather than the bad times. No matter which way we do it, we curate our social media.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with curating your online presence-- everyone does it in some way or another. However, when it comes to feeling envious over someone else's Instagram posts or Snapchat stories, remember that just like you, they're showing their good side.