I’m not familiar with Essena O’Neill (probably because I’m not on Instagram), but I give her a lot of credit for being so open about her online appearance. This idea of crafting the perfect post or photo to garner the most likes or RTs has become a way that many of us value ourselves and judge our own self-worth. “No one RTd that? I must suck.” I’m pretty sure that’s gone through many people’s minds. Her idea of taking hours to craft something (in her case, photos) to perfection, in her words, makes it “not real life.”
So that brings me to the next thing…What IS real life, then? If someone spends the majority of her/his time online, is that persona/representation more or less real than the physical representation of that person in the grocery store? It reminds me of the movie Surrogates, based on the graphic novel, The Surrogates (that I, admittedly, have never read). But this idea of experiencing life from behind a screen/persona isn’t new. I think people may have started to go through this when people started sending letters. (I mean, Roxanne is one of my favorite movies.)
And I know there are people out there with serious agoraphobia and anxiety about being in public. For them, being online is their only interaction with people, whether it’s through games or any other social media platform like Twitter or Instagram. And that’s fine, please don’t think I’m judging. I guess I just feel like we’ve become so accustomed to avatars and online personalities, that even reality doesn’t come close to what we’ve created in a virtual world. That’s probably why I prefer email when I have to work in the virtual space, and phone calls ever more. It’s more personal, and I feel like I can be myself…at least more than a post on Twitter that goes out to a thousand people or more.
But maybe I’m just being too existential. I AM listening to Pink Floyd, after all. : )
PS: I may take her advice and think about staying off social media for a week when all the cons are done for this year.
PPS: Buzz just gave me tater tots, and they’re delicious.