All Around Us – The Social Project: Perfection on Social Media

Week 9: Perfection on Social Media

This is a truly amazing and thought-provoking post. It has many messages, but i’ll let you figure them out for yourself. all I’ll say is, the main message of this post is not ‘Let’s All Play Farmville again’!

Hey there, lost cyber-adventurers of the Interwebs and L’s regular followers! I am called Kate from Plethoric Thoughts and I’m so pleased to be here and talk about something that’s been on my mind for a long while now.

Perfection. The condition or state of being free of flaws or defects.

Isn’t it funny how this one word both defines and does not define humanity? Let me help you understand what I’m trying to say here.

I think we’ve all learned from Simple Plan that humans are far from perfect (and we’re sorry we can’t be). We are flawed beings. The term “human” is practically an opposite for the term “perfect”. “I’m only human” and “We are not perfect” are two synonymous phrases that are thrown out when talking about us and our many many flaws. And it is a fact that we all… kinda accept in ourselves.

I say “kinda” there because, let’s face it: we strive for perfection. A huge percentage of us were raised with the mindset that perfect is the way to be. And it is in our innate humanity to be ambitious in what we want. To reach for something better, bigger, nearer to perfection. Perfect character, perfect physique, perfect academic performance. Perfect.

And like everything that goes through the negative filter of social media, this strive for something we can’t possibly achieve worsens online.

In a place where you can choose what part/s of yourself you want to broadcast to the world, of course you would want to appear like a better version of yourself. I mean, who wouldn’t, right?

We want to document the highs and grieve the lows—we especially do the former more often than the latter. You post that delicious dinner you had in an expensive restaurant, you meticulously arrange your things so that they will look beautiful when you post the picture to Instagram. Now everyone wants to wake up like a rockstar diva because someone said they “woke up like this #nomakeup”. Some people go to lengths as editing their photos so it will look dramatic and impactful. And even a “candid” picture is a kind of pose that is supposedly “authentically taken”.

And that last one in particular makes me so sad. We are scrambling all over the place to create this scenario that is “natural” and, supposedly, a “normal” part of our lives and that it’s something everybody else want for theirs. And we end up looking far from real or authentic.

And you will know that I’m not the only one who’s thinking about this. A few days earlier, Daisy Ridley even posted on Instagram a powerful message about the pressure to look perfect on social media. And ChildLine even told BBC earlier this year that a good number of their sessions in 2014/15 were related to unhappiness and low self-esteem.

Just so you know, I am also guilty for a lot of the things I mentioned above. Because I, as well as the lot of us here really, am part of the generation that dominates social media and Internet as a whole. These are things that we’ve been through in different levels of intensity. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve gone through social media envy and lowering of self-esteem because of the things I’ve seen online. But I’m trying to fix that kind of perspective and live less off of the bits and pieces of myself online and more of the me in my entirety.

Who I’m more worried about are the kids in their pre-teens and early teens because, even if they grew up surrounded by all these technology, they are more gullible and vulnerable to how social media can affect them. I have a brother in this age range and he’s only discovering the amazing feat of Facebook that let’s you connect with other people and not just utilize the website to play games like Pet Society and Farmville (oh God, I miss those games).

The gist here is that there is nothing wrong with sharing the good things that are happening in your life. But going to long lengths to create, manipulate, and even fake out these good things is.

No one has ever given you the obligation to be perfect so why try to be? After all, as the song goes, we are “only human.” And humanity is far from perfect.

Thank you so much for reading this and have a good day!

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