Looking at Myself: Social Media and the Quantified Self

We all have an ideal self. Wanting to be perceived a certain way.

We want to be our own brand.

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This stylised and commonly over glamorized simulacrum of ourselves is inextricably linked to the real and unedited identity and lifestyle of the publisher. This process of selective publishing causes a strange hybrid online persona, where one can carefully curate  a self-identity; half-way between who you truly are and who you want to be.

Curating a self-image is a conscious process that we engage in on a day-to-day basis, trying to maximise and manipulate our self perception on social-media platforms such as: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pintrest, etc.

Each platform has different tropes and presents different types of content. When an image is uploaded it can be contingent on who you want the audience to be, how long you want the image to be visible, if the image is something that you want to be associated with, etc.

Instagram has been used as a simulacrum of ones’ life, where over stylized, overly glamorized and deceiving images are used to create an online story that isn’t necessarily representative of the person’s life. For some, these identities have become invaluable, with their content winning over vast audiences and attention from companies who are willing to monotise this following, by paying for plugs. Those who work tirelessly on their media presence, often leave their jobs and live off audience enagagement and the monetary benefits associated with doing so. It is no wonder why the 21st century lay person is so preoccupied on over-glamorising their lives and sharing it with the world.

I do not hastily point my finger at others, without first looking at myself and how I have engaged in this practice. I am a self-confessed lover of instagram and I do undoubtedly engage in this process.  I could think of nothing better than to put my law degree on hold to post pictures of myself on the internet in lavish places, with beautiful people, wearing the newest and most sought after clothing. Quasi-celebrity status is what we are all after, whether you’re honest enough to admit it or not, is another story.

So here are my painfully honest instagram confessions, outlining:

who I actually am vs. the  brand that I present myself as @isawisniewska 

The Truth of Isabella:

I am a full-time Law, Media and Communications student, who juggles two jobs and a volunteer position as a media manager.

I have always had a champagne taste on a beer budget and am completely hopeless at making responsible adult decisions, especially regarding finances.

I am from the Western Suburbs of Sydney and am the daughter of two hard-working, loving migrants.

I very rarely go clubbing and do not have the opportunity to see friends often. A lot of posts are with my partner as we spend most spare time together and often attend functions together.

I very rarely drink and have a deep and profound love of carbohydrates. I also have a love/hate relationship with the gym, where I love the feeling of doing something valuable for my health, but hate actually attending the gym.

I wear makeup 50 per cent of the week, contingent on my mood and/or laziness. However, I would never post an image of myself without looking my absolute best on instagram.

I am passionate about politics and social justice and although I do own a lot of material objects and mostly post about materialistic things, I try not to associate my self-worth with a bag or shoes and do not see myself as being any better or worse of a human than a fellow citizen, irrespective of their worldly possessions.

 

Curated-Self/Perception of Isabella:

Isabella is a Law, Media and Communications student at a University, most probably somewhere in inner Sydney. Isabella rarely posts about her work, unless there is a social gathering or a work party, so we know that she is employed but the rest is a mystery.

She likes brands and often has fresh flowers in her bedroom, so she probably lives off her parents’ or partners’ money.

Isabella is obsessed with everything and anything monogrammed, near everything she owns has her initials.

There are no posts that would help determine where Isabella lives, as most of her check ins are not concentrated in any particular area in Sydney.

Most of Isabella’s posts are of her and her boyfriend, elegantly dressed at a function on weekends or of her partner buying her gifts or making romantic gestures.

Isabella will only ever eat healthy foods and does not stray from her exercise regime. Every time she attends an event she will use the champaign emoji so she must be verging on alcoholism.🍾

Isabella has never posted an image of herself without makeup on social media, therefore she is always perfectly presentable.

Isabella follows mostly famous people and only selected friends back (how stuck up is she?)

…………….

 

As a society, we have become increasingly preoccupied with how we present ourselves onIMG_6497 social media. We disconnect with friends (as seen to the right), we attend events just to get a photo, we are devastated when our phones die and we haven’t yet documented an event, we see a gym session as being invalid if we have not checked ourselves in or taken a ‘progress shot’ and we somehow inherently tie up our value with how a stranger on the other side of the world sees and perceived our framed and stylised picture.

Pathetically, we use apps to measure our following and our ‘fame value’ and likes and follows to measure our worth as humans.12325552_10205526912800116_495182549_o

Perhaps what you and I alike should take from this message, is that we are worth so much more than who we present ourvelves to be and who we aim to be. Gathering a better sense of self is more achievable offline than it is on.

Sometimes you need to disconnect to reconnect.

 

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