Social Media – The Ugly Truth

Hey everyone! It’s been a WHILE I know but I’m back and hopefully here to stay. Life was crazy for a year or so, still sometimes is, and I just wasn’t inspired to write sadly. I literally could not pour from an empty cup and I look forward to sharing that testimony some day (still waiting for the rainbow, pray for a sister) but for today’s post I want to talk about social media and the lies behind it. This topic is honestly nothing new and hopefully you will know most of this already but a little reinforcement never hurt nobody!

 

Social media has crept up and suddenly consumed us. I mean, networking sites have been around for a while, shout out Bebo, Hi 5 and Myspace (Are those top friends still even your friends now?) but with the development in technology things have changed a lot. Back in the day when we didn’t have internet on our phones; if you wanted that sparkly Hello Kitty wallpaper that your cool mate had you had to hold your phones together and trust in the power of infrared but now a man in Fiji can say something offensive and within three minutes he has been turned into a meme, blasted by twitter, fired from work and if he’s lucky he’ll even get a cheeky Channel 4 segment. Times have really changed.

We have to be really careful with how we use our social media accounts. People have actually been sacked for what they have uploaded and more recently celebrities such as Maya Jama and Stormzy have been ridiculed for offensive statements they tweeted more than three years ago. Once it’s on the internet it’s really out there for all to see so think before you type people, the world-wide web is not your diary. Social media is great though; no more having to buy £5 phone cards to call Aunty back home, now Aunty is messaging you daily; prayers, emojis and videos galore (please, somebody stop them!). Being able to interact with people around the world within seconds is amazing and there are some fantastic online communities for almost every topic you can think of from running to DIY to breastfeeding. The internet has connected us together, opened our eyes to tragedies and helped raise money for people suffering worldwide.

But as I’ve written about in the past, social media can be seriously bad for our self-esteem. Apps such as Instagram can pressure us to feel insecure as we compare ourselves to others online. The ‘explore’ page is full of muscly men, curvy women, lovey dove couples, immaculate homes and wealthy people who can make us feel that we are just not enough. You could have just made a perfect green smoothie full of Lidl’s finest berries and seeds, thrown on your freshest New Look jeans and perfected your high bun complete with slicker than slick edges but one scroll online and you feel like Bobo the Clown. One look at a photo of that slim ‘instagram model’ with flawless skin and a Gucci bag perfectly crouching in front of her shiny white shoe cabinet can sadly ruin some people’s whole day and make them feel inadequate. 

I can relate; when I started my weight loss journey I followed a lot of fitness accounts on Instagram and I remember one day seeing everyone’s post workout selfies and push-up videos and thinking wow, I really need to get in the gym. The funny thing was, I had actually been to the gym that day and worked really hard but looking at other people made me forget about my own efforts. I went through a season of constantly comparing my thighs and stomach to girls I had never even met and it was terrible for my motivation and confidence. I have thankfully gotten over those feelings and I am a much more confident woman and one of the reasons for this is because I realised that social media is a lie! Yes, it is a scam.

Okay, not everyone that posts online is lying, I for one am honest online, but I have seen so many fake posts these days that have made me both ponder and laugh and we need to wake up and realise that everything that glitters is not gold. The recent #VisaBae scandal where a Youtuber who portrayed a luxury lifestyle online posing with designer bags and clothes set up a GoFundMe page asking for £2300 for a visa application as she faced deportation hilighted the fact that not everything we see online is true. VisaBae aka Rutendo Tichiwangani, when questioned by Channel 5 claimed that the expensive bags she had posted on her Instagram were not actually hers but belonged to her friends. See the lie! What has society come to where a girl feels that she has to lie about owning bags online to make herself look good and gain likes? Her faithful followers believed they were following a rich fashionista only to discover she did allegedly not have a penny nor a bag to her name.

I’ve seen it for myself too; I remember a colleague telling me about his marital problems. He was going through a rough patch with his wife and she had moved out of the city and they were living apart. I felt really bad for him but you can imagine my surprise that evening when I saw him posting ‘recent selfies’ of the ‘wifey and I loving life.’ The brother was living alone with only his dog to hold but to his ‘friends’ online it seemed like life was great. People looked up to him as ‘goals’ and another colleague even said to me once, “I wish my relationship was like theirs.’ Little did she know that what she saw on Facebook was far from the truth.

I’ve seen women post ‘off to work selfies’ when they are unemployed, fake Valentine’s Day gift photos (sad, I know) and even claim to be in a relationship when they are single pringles. I’ve seen someone post #somebody’swife when they are not even in a relationship. Madness. Likewise, I’ve seen men post photos of their children who they have not seen for months (big up screenshots) and biceps they do not own. I’m not here to criticise people because what you chose to post on your personal page is your business but I want to make you aware that the relationship you might be pining for, that figure you compare yourself to and that person you simply even admire might not actually exist. People lie online and we have to realise that.

How often do you actually see people walking around looking like these ‘Instagram girls’ in real life? Do you really know what goes on behind closed doors in people’s relationships? You only see a five minute Snapchat story and start telling people they are perfect for each other and should make babies. Everyone thought that Nakita Johnson and Terroll Lewis were the perfect couple but where are they now? People thought that GetbodiedbyJ got her body through squats and avocado but she revealed that she had surgery and shattered many hopes and dreams. Do not believe everything you read online and take everything with a pinch of salt. Yes, it is great to be inspired by others but do not let people you hardly know make you feel inferior simply because of the things they post online because we do not know their reality.

That girl you follow might have three pairs of Louboutins but may be sleeping on nothing but a mattress, your favourite fitness inspiration might claim he went to the gym every day this week but actually hasn’t made it out of bed and how do you know that the perfect couple you love have actually spoken to each other this week? Social media is what you make it; we choose what we want people to see. Nobody is going to post a snap mid-argument or take a selfie after they’ve eaten their bodyweight in oreos. Start by loving yourself wholeheartedly before hanging onto the posts of others. Be real with yourself; who are you trying to impress online? Why do you seek validation from people who don’t even know your Mum’s name? What have the people who like your photo done for you? When you go into your overdraft and can’t top up your oyster card will they help you out? Will they proofread your dissertation for you? Will they babysit your children for you when you need to go to work?

Think about what you consume online and consider taking a break from social media if you think it will benefit you. Likewise, reflect on what you post and if you are portraying your true self. Lying about where you go, what you do and who you are with is a cause for concern and perhaps you need someone to talk to. Reach out to someone you can trust or even get in touch with me because I’d be happy to be a listening ear. Social media is great; funny videos, inspirational quotes and instant communication but don’t let it steal your joy and turn you into someone you’re not. You are more than a 140 character tweet, a filtered photo and a boastful status. You were enough before you created your account and you are enough now. 

 

Thanks so much for reading, I’ve missed writing. Let me know your thoughts below…

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3 Comments

  1. Really enjoyed reading this Hayley! So many home truths in this, I had a few weeks break from Instagram and felt so much lighter mentally (I did miss the jokes though). I realised I was constantly comparing my fitness journey to everyone else’s and it wasn’t doing me any good. Thanks for the reminder.

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