…stagram she’s rarely dressed down — she almost always presents herself as a star in celebrity mode. This contradiction, between what she says about Instagram and the images she shares, gets to the heart of the problem with all social media platforms. They purport themselves to be avenues of self-expression, and though they may sometimes be, they are always fundamentally commercial endeavors designed to maximize profit.
We are Americans. We understand capitalism. We even have an colloquialism that conflates our love for money with devotion to a deity: “The Almighty Dollar”.
So why are we surprised at this?
It’s because the line between what is “real” and what is profit-driven has become invisible. We are literally selling out our culture to commercialism. We worship at the alter of consumerism, under the guise of artistic expression.
So what is the fix? I have no fucking clue. I don’t think that there’s any debate that this path is leading us into a dark, creepy forest, like IG (and other social media) is the goddamn pied piper and we are his nasty little rats.
So many of us outwardly eschew the notion of a “perfect life” that friends present on IG, while simulataneously taking 14 versions of the same pic and spending hours choosing filters before we ourselves post. #nofilter might as well be #IsoooowanttolooklikeIputzeroeffortintothisshotthattookme2hourstogetright. And for what? Unlike Selena, we aren’t getting a piece of that almighty dollar for our efforts.
I read an article recently (that I will come back and link to as soon as I have a few brief moments to find it) that touted the results of what was puported to be the first study on social media preferences of the new generation — the post-Millenials. The results were comforting. While they consume more social media, they are far less comfortable with putting it “out there”. It appears that they, having being raised with parents who posted everything about them online from their births to potty training to their parents’ divorces, put more value on their privacy than the previous generation. They have much less of a need to be “consumed” and, as a result, aren’t selling out their personal and artistic efforts in exchange for equal doses of social capital and misery.
I sure, the fuck, hope so. It’s time for that pendulum to swing back to a more reasonable place. We cannot deny that we now live in a digital age and that social media is a huge part of our culture, but maybe the next generation will have the wisdom to temper their obession with perfection with a little more reality. Our culture will be better for it.