The first Like is the hardest.
Armed with digital makeup, we paint ourselves over and over until the current masterpiece is primed to publish, filtered down to the perfect pixel. Set the foundation. Brighten those dark spots. Colour in the pale spots. Sharpen what is dull. Conceal. Conceal. Conceal. But make sure it’s all effortless. Post. Then wait excruciatingly for the social jury to validate.
It’s a shameful feeling we hate ourselves for – to surrender our worth to a network we barely know, care or even like. But their collective judgement matters. It matters in our perpetual pursuit to live glossy lives online. It matters in our fear of being rendered as socially pathetic.
Reality is now malleable. Moments now manipulated. We have evolved to controlling perception. We have become biased storytellers that exhaustively pick apart the narrative and only showcase the happy highlights. We are our own Wizards, Creative Directors, Designers, and Chief Editors in the stories of our lives. Look off? Filter it. Bad weather? Filter it. Crop it. Caption it. Post. Delete. Redo. Redo. Redo. We are our own demons.
We have become ambitious marketers for brand ‘You’. The name of the game is to balance the sick ratio between the number of followers, following and posts. This is a full time job. Pay rate? Validation. Count the Likes, Comment, Shares that quantify your worth and a job well done. We no longer live to share, but share to live.
We start seeing the world in Instagram curation and magazine-quality editorial. Where can we go that best captures the day? How can we perfectly angle this view? Who can we snap with that total up our social clout? Slowly, surely and subconsciously, we start living for the next hit. Do it for the Vine. Do it for the newsfeed. Filter within filter within filter. Hashtags over hashtags over hashtags. Captions that capture so little of our raw thoughts but what sounds like a compelling companion to the image.
How disturbing is this?
Life is silly, vibrant and messy. Colors bleed into and within shapes and subjects. There are no erasers and brushes. Nothing is refined until our experiences unapologetically slap us into more mature and learned beings. What minimalist aesthetic? Life is much more than how it’s perceived.
We are losing the power to indulge in the sweetness of living for living.
These moments we don’t own. When we curate them for others, it’s never ours to begin.