“I’m obsessed with Jane. I can’t stop looking at her Facebook page. She has the perfect husband, the perfect children, her house looks like something out of Southern Living and her hair is always freakin’ perfect!” A couple of years into Facebook, my girlfriend confessed this to me. Every morning, a few times during the day, before she went to bed and in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep, she Facebook stalked ‘Jane.’
A couple of years later on a random day, Jane was not on Facebook anymore and the quintessential dream life that Jane painted so beautifully was no longer. Why? Jane got divorced. Jane lost the house and amongst it all, Jane had a bad hair day. Delete Account.
Since the early days of Facebook, people have started not only sharing the happy times, but also sharing the real stuff, the ugly and the painful. But, even then, it’s still a display of who we are and how we handle life and we are bound to get judged. You can tell a lot about someone looking at their social media pages. Or can you?
What happens if I’m in a sarcastic mood one day, philosophical another, dirty mind the next and a sensitive conservative on a Friday? Then what? Have I totally messed up my own branding? What will my followers think?! I better stick to one thing and only show the good side…
The majority of Facebook users are adults. Instagram users tend to be on the younger side. I find it intriguing that young adults are growing tired of the pressure to live up to something (whatever that something is) inspired by those they follow on Instagram. But not just a little. So much so that they have created fake Instagram accounts, Finstagram. These accounts achieve something different than their regular accounts. They show the real version of that person.
I was surprised to learn that Finstagrams were actually created by teens and those in their twenties. Instead of collecting high numbers in friends and likes, these new spaces intentionally keep low numbers in their audience of only close friends.
I’m fascinated by this creation. In a world, where we’ve rapidly been given the opportunity to express ourselves via multiple channels that have the ability to reach hundreds, thousands and even millions of people, we’ve increased the pressure of making sure that self-expression delivers. It must be entertaining. It must be thought provoking and it must get a reaction. If our day was boring or our picture unattractive, does it make us less than? Perhaps these youngsters have created a platform for honest self-expression beyond the image of self-expression and I find that… hopeful.