Wearing almost next to nothing, she took a photograph of herself. She took it again, and again, and again. She had tried countless angles and repeatedly ensured that the lighting is perfectly right but has yet to take a photograph that pleased her. After about an hour, she managed to get the good one but not a perfect one, yet. With a few taps on her phone screen, she opened up a photo editor. She adjusted the contrast, brightness and temperature of the photograph. She also tested out several different combinations of edits and compared them to get the best one. She stared at the photographs for a long while comparing each and every single element. Finally, with a smile on her face, she saved the best photograph and uploaded it on Instagram. She knew that this photograph will get lots of ‘likes’ and she smiled at the thought.
This is the age where instant gratification has become a drug and unfortunately, many people are addicted to it. So much so that to get more of it, they adopt ridiculous tactics such as posting almost naked photographs of themselves to doing dangerously stupid stunts. A quick scroll through your Instagram’s ‘Explore’ page will show you what I mean.
It might seem harmless but in actual fact, it can bring massive amounts of damage to a person’s self-confidence as they associate the number of ‘likes’ they get to society’s acceptance of them. When they failed to get the expected number of ‘likes’, they would feel as if society had rejected them. Those photographs would then be brought down and they will start the process all over again. Over time, this will take a toll on them as the constant ‘rejection’ they experienced might push them to do something rash.
It is sad to see that such things are happening especially in our younger generation – my generation. We no longer post photographs for sharing but instead, to prove a point to people. To prove that we are better than them by being able to get such a body or able to afford to travel all over the world or being able to do ridiculous things without getting caught. All of that to raise our social status amongst our friends.
I cannot say that I am completely innocent of it because it does give a good sensation knowing that people are admiring you. However, as pleasurable as it may be, the sensation goes away as quickly as it comes. So, you crave for more and therefore, the vicious cycle starts.
It is a cycle that I absolutely hated and thus, I have been trying to stay away from acts that can cause it to start. I have become more aware of what I am posting on social media, especially on Instagram. An example would be that I would only post photographs that have a beautiful meaning behind it or when I am trying to send a positive message. As much as possible, I would try staying away from posting photographs that seemed obnoxious or egotistical. So far, I am succeeding.
This problem cannot be solved easily as it can affect anyone from any age group. However, it is a problem that should be talked about and addressed. I guess self-awareness is crucial in solving it. People should be made to realise that these photographs do not define who they are as a person and that their authentic character in real life is so much more important.
Ultimately, all of us need to realise that social media has its uses but if abused, we can fall into a dark hole that is difficult to come out of.