Living Your Life Through Filters: The Facade of Social Media

Culture / July 31, 2014

We’ve all heard of the phrase “too good to be true.” Whether we admit it or not, this is frequently the case with images posted on social media.

The truth is that nobody’s everyday life is exactly how it appears in these photos and, often, the spontaneous photos that you see online were probably planned and carefully thought out, giving the poster the opportunity to hide their flaws and create a hyper-idealistic version of themselves.

Perhaps Carl Jung was onto something when he wrote in his 1928 essay, “The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious,” that, “The persona is a complicated system of relations between individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and, on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual.”

Is social media simply a way to conceal our true nature?

One filmmaking team certainly thinks so. Youtube filmmakers, HigtonBros, recently released a video which touches on the reality of social media and the truth behind those Facebook posts by your friends.

But is social media having an effect on us as spectators?

Certainly, we are all guilty of Instagram-stalking strangers, fascinated by their lives. We allow ourselves to be influenced by the person who has the most followers, wears the coolest clothes, or the person who even eats the best-looking #foodporn.

Take reality star Kylie Jenner, for example. Attending glamorous parties, wearing designer clothes, and constantly being made up for photo shoots, she seems to be living the dream. Fast forward to Kylie on E’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” where she is often seen sporting sweatpants, acting bratty toward her mother, and attending high school like a normal teenager. This just goes to show you that even celebrities don’t live the life they project.

If it is not real, then why are we so addicted to this means of expression?

A quick scroll through our newsfeed, and before we know it, we are subconsciously emulating our Instagram role models. We strive to reach unattainable standards that fulfill the mainstream definition of “perfection.” We are hash-tagging pictures for “likes” and attempting to post beautiful pictures, for nothing but a short-lived self-esteem boost.

Consequentially, this “cyber world” causes a distorted sense of reality. Feeling pressured about what we should post and the things we are supposed to “like” blurs the line between being genuine or just trying to blend in with the crowd.

Also, after achieving x-amount of followers, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Negative feedback and rude comments often come with the territory. While some of Kylie’s comments might read “beautiful” and “perfect,” others are criticizing her for wearing too much makeup or accusing her of having plastic surgery. What was once a fun way to post a few harmless pictures has turned into a corrupt platform that makes us feel inferior.

Your self worth as an individual should have no correlation to the number of likes you achieve on your Instagram photos.

Post what you like, regardless of what others may think. Only you can control how you are portrayed on social media, and it is up to you to decide if it is worth sacrificing your identity just live up to current norms and clichés.

I guarantee you that in a few years, none of this is going to matter. Most likely, you are never going to meet your Instagram or Twitter followers in real life.

So, go ahead and post pics of your Euro trip, or post a picture of your dog; whatever means the most to you. Just don’t feel obligated to live your whole life through a filter.


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Hayley Lind
Hayley Lind
Hayley Lind is a rising senior at Philadelphia University with a major in Fashion Industry Management and a minor in Professional Communication. She currently serves as the blog co-editor for her college's fashion publication, Styleline. She hopes to one day write for a fashion magazine in New York City. Hayley is currently obsessed with outdoor yoga, thrift store shopping, and avocados.




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Living Your Life Through Filters: The Facade of Social Media