Let’s talk about social media.
Last night, I was in a discussion group of local artists when a researcher asked us tons of stuff about living in Detroit and the “creative” lifestyle. One of the questions that popped up was about millennials, social media and interaction. How does it affect one’s psyche?
I thought about how people treat me before they see my Instagram account. The difference is astonishing…
Before I go into my answer, I want to give you a little history. I started out as a style blogger in 2013 with the hopes that people would read my other work. I’ve always been a writer, but no one paid any attention to “Leah the Writer.” In order to bring people in, I started adding visuals to the blog posts. At that moment, I became a plus-size, Muslim model. I fell into it, but it was never my intent. I just wanted people to read my shit. I started getting attention for my photos and not really my writing. Which frustrated me, but it worked out in the end because now people actually read and appreciate my stuff.
Over the years, my followers tripled, and now I have—on Instagram alone—over 14k followers.
Now, there are bloggers with waaaaaaay more followers than me. I’m middle-grade compared to them. Which is fine, but when I meet people in real-life and they stumble upon my account, it’s the first thing that latch onto. The numbers.
“Errrrmagawd,” one guy said scanning my feed. “You’re like insta-famous.”
“How’d you get so many followers?” A girl asked. “I can’t even break a thousand.”
And, I always get someone who asks, “Did you like buy your followers?”
I neeeeever tell people or flaunt the fact that I have a fan base or a semi-medium following. Because you can see the difference in how they look at me. It’s more like I’m a reality star to them and not a human being. I’ve become some sort of object, a trophy to flaunt about. Oh yeah, I know her. Smh.
I just wanted people to read my shit. I started getting attention for my photos and not really my writing. Which frustrated me, but it worked out in the end because now people actually read and appreciate my stuff.
Not gonna lie. Was it important at a certain point? Hell yeah. Because unfortunately, in the current climate, numbers seem to define a lot of our self-worth. And, that’s where the problem lies.
“I kinda hate the heavy importance people put on social media appearances and numbers. I’ve often seen people blatantly lie about how great their husband is to them, how amazing their job is, and how much fun they’re having at a party they hadn’t wanted to go to and hated everyone in attendance just to save face for colleagues or friends and sometimes, even strangers on the internet. Why is everyone so obsessed with appearing to be someone they’re not? It’s okay to have a shitty day. We all have shitty days. But, what I really need is for people to stop defining their entire existence on how many people like their selfie!”
Social media is like catfishing on steroids. You can be whoever you want to be. Lay 17 different filters on your face, blur that double chin, and cinch in that waist… Giiiiirrrrrrl, you’ve become a 2-second Kardashian but without the Kardashian money. But, is that all life is about though? Being a carbon-copy of another person to feel some sort of false validation?
Stop allowing likes, comments, stats and selfie angles to define your worth. Stop flipping back and forth from the same 30 photos to see which one makes you look taller. Stop pretending that perfection can ever be attained. It can’t be; no matter if you get a trillion likes. Outside of social media, you have real-life friends that see your double chin and watch you swallow an entire burger without even chewing.