Instagram is populated with everything from contour queens to relationship goals and #foodporn accounts that will have your mouth watering in seconds. There are book lover accounts that put Tumblr to shame and fitness fanatic accounts that motivate you to put down the fries and grab the peanut butter instead. On Facebook, friends are checking in at exotic islands and fancy restaurants and relationship statuses change monthly. And, in an effort to not be left behind, we do the same. We take awkward pictures to get the perfect shot and we post flawless versions of ourselves online – we don’t focus on the experience we focus on the shot.
Instead of saving for that Island trip and booking a weekend away, what do we do? We Insta search things like #goals and #bae. We Google questions like “do guys like long or short hair?” and we take BuzzFeed quizzes to answer questions like “what guy should I date next?” and “when to text first?”. We blindly follow trends and only use hashtags that have more than 100k posts on Instagram.
And we do all this for obscure reasons. So that some random girl from Joburg can like our picture and a guy from across the Atlantic can comment with “cute”. We do it to get noticed, by people we know and people we’ll never meet. And once we get what we want, it becomes addictive. We get high on seeing those numbers, that 20 notifications on Facebook and those 50 notifications on Instagram.
We get high on the feeling that someone else likes our life and our lifestyle and the way we live it. We get off on being popular and liked and being the envied by someone else.
And we commit to our social personas. We do things like practicing selfie faces, and planning Instagram posts. We use well thought out filters and make mental notes of well-performing hashtags. We remove pictures that get less than 10 likes and we unfollow accounts who don’t follow us back.
And then we chase it, the next high, the next like, the next follow, the next friend request and comment. We pursue perfection. But in this pursuit of perfection, our generation has lost its authenticity and individualism. We’ve become okay with being just like someone else. We’ve become a generation that doesn’t want friends, we followers. We don’t want experiences we want photos. And we don’t want lives we want social media accounts.
We chase the perfect lives of others instead of appreciating what’s right in front of us. We capture moments and then we advertise that as if that’s our life. We try to appear as #flawless as possible. And in the midst of it all, we forget that half of it’s not real, it’s constructed and staged.
By definition, perfection is being so good that it could not be made any better. You’re a person and not a robot so perfection will be never be attained. Your life is your own and the only reaction that matters is yours – so like it and love it, but go ahead and live a life that’s real.