Social Media and the Self

There are quite a few cons to social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, but this post is about some of the things we take for granted and perhaps how social media can help us.

Side note: All this is subjective, and totally depends on the person. 

Over the years we have been able to see social media, along with its users, evolve. People aren’t just posting vacation photos of sunny locations, flexing with all the cars they own or all the parties they go to. They are using the platform to talk about more raw subjects, about body positivity, mental health, self-care and much more, because not everything is sunshine and rainbows, and that’s okay.

The Social Media Evolution (as witnessed by an average user, aka me); Old school media showed us that there was a perfect body mould we had to squeeze into and a mood you had to smile through, a template of sorts. But slowly as people started ridiculing fashion and media for not being more inclusive, things started to change. Social media platforms were on the rise around the same time. And recently Influencers, Instagram Models and Youtubers started garnering more popularity (mostly for being themselves,) social media became a place to make money from sponsored posts, get the most views and likes, and get validation. Somewhere along the way it had lost its essence, and people soon realised that it was unnecessary to keep up this facade and live up to impossible standards. They started posting more realistic things, putting up content that was relatable, celebrities posted photos with no makeup on, which was a big step because it allowed people to let their guard down on social media. This helped people open up about what they were going through and helped them accept themselves for who they are. This in turn brought about a sense of community, sharing experiences with people from all around the world, relating to others. 

I recently stumbled upon a study done by a Harvard sociologist that shows that people prefer talking about their problems or confiding in a stranger as opposed to a family member or friend. 

As social anxiety becomes ever so prevalent in society, with the help of online shopping and delivery services that minimise human interactions, people find it easier to speak about themselves more openly without having to deal with the stress of social situations.

I feel like people take to social media as a way to express themselves and perhaps show their interests unlike before where it used to be more of an online album where you could share photos.  From having a more aesthetic feed that makes you feel calm or stress free, to quotes about mental health and motivational captions, Instagram has changed. Allowing people to talk about it, normalising it, it has not only helped other people open up about it, but also helped create awareness and help people understand what someone else is going through, that someone could also be a friend or family member. 

The change on social media is an important one, it will not only affect our generation, but also future generations.


Artwork: ‘Myth and Sexuality’ by Diana Mohapatra