What we post or more importantly, what we choose not to post, tells a lot about our character, our self-esteem, and the lens with which we see ourselves. Nevertheless, we are living in an online illusion, where everything seems perfect and normalized, without a blemish or pause. Welcome to the modern day Never Never Land, where Alice’s rabbit hole has become social media.
In an interview with the Former Editor in Chief of Vogue Paris, Joan Juliet Buck, we discussed her book, The Price Of Illusion, her personal memoir. Coming from a “well to do” family, she explained, even when the money ran out, the illusion never did. We got into the depths of the magazine world and the subworld’s it so effortlessly creates.
“It used to be that the only people allowed to express themselves or tell the rest of the world about their taste and choices were the people who were allowed to be magazine editors, magazine writers, magazine stylists. Now everybody can do that because of social media. So where does that leave the magazines? Running after the social media to put the social media stars in the paper magazine, which I think is kinda maybe getting it a little bit backwards. [Because] I think magazines are much like my father, magazines are there to create the illusion of a beautiful world around you. So you go from page to page, you see this garden, this house and you go, ‘Oh, I want to live inside that.’
We are no longer flipping through magazines, but rather scrolling down for the next voyeuristic image to critique with a like, and if lucky, a comment. What happens when aspirational becomes common and perception turns into reality and rules?
It has been psychologically proven that social media encourages depression. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted a study on the effects of social media usage and habits in conjunction with the moods of the users. The research resulted in illustrating that the more time people used social media, the more likely they are to be depressed. The questionnaire surveyed 1,787 adults in the United States, ages 19 to 32. The results indicated that participants used social media 61 minutes per day and visited various social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine (no longer active), and LinkedIn), on average, 30 times a week. More than a quarter of the participants were qualified as having “high” indicators of depression and researchers discovered a significant and linear association between social media usage and depression.
The high of a like or the need for attention is feeding an internal beast that studies show, is not good for our overall mental and inner health. We trying to keep up with “The Joneses,” but in this art of illusion, so many people are mirroring the life they want versus the life they have. In return, we are looking at images daily and believing aspirational goals are the norm. Welcome to the social mind f*ck of Never Never Land. People have built entire worlds and support systems simply by logging on and while it’s uplifting and fascinating, there is a dark, quiet crevice where you can’t help but notice: some people are fronting.
The fronting can take you straight to jail as we discovered with fashion blogger, Shaniqua Jordan, better know as SimplyXStyle on Instagram. The online beauty who consistently posts fabulous outfit after outfit, accented with designer duds and little repeats, is now paying a high price for entertaining her 40K+ followers (at time of arrest). Shaniqua went to Bucks County Prison on 10 percent of a $400,000.00 bail because she allegedly racked up a total of $37,000.00 charges, including buying a $18,000.00 Rolex. Reportedly, she had the Rolex mailed to a shipping company. Investigators requested the business selling the expensive watch to send an empty box, which they did. Once Shaniqua signed, she was arrested on site. She remained silent from Instagram from April 7th to May 9th.
When she did return, she posted the below image with the caption, “No ride is promised to be a smooth one.”
Of course, she’s wearing designer in her image. One of her Instagram followers, @ceecee.thedon commented under the photo, “A L L publicity is good publicity. This is good shit.” Shaniqua liked the comment. She also has increased her follower count to 58.3K since the incident, with over 18K new followers.
It’s not just 30-year-old bloggers engaging in this behavior, it’s celebrities too, facing pressure to be living a certain life. Shad Moss or Bow Wow (formerly Lil’ Bow Wow) has been in the industry since he was a child. According to Bank Rate, his net worth is apparently $1.5 million, nevertheless, Bow Wow had a major slip up that led to a public social media dragging for the ages.
He posted a photo on Instagram, promoting his travel day for Growing Up Hip Hop. There is an image of a private jet. He clearly forgot the Internet are heavy fact checkers and it was quickly revealed that this image was actually an image taken from Fort Lauderdale Airport Transportation FLL – Corporate Travel Shuttle. The social media shaming resulted in people starting to compare “online” to “in real life,” with images of what something appears to be, versus reality.
You would think this would have caused him to be slightly more humble or even address the situation. Please honey, this is Instagram. He has yet to respond to this, yet posted another photo, right next to his (alleged) Gucci backpack and one solo hashtag: #EverythingGucci.
I think this would have been the more accurate photo.
Nevertheless, the gag is…many are perpetuating and fronting a life that is non-existent. You see the cars, the money, the events; however, you never see the low moments, the troubles, the trials…and that’s the problem: social media is not a 360 deal. You only get to see specific sides that people choose to show.
And sometimes the parts you do show, you might regret later, a la Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. In one upload, Rob Kardashian showed his ass and brought on a whole slew of legal problems.The couple completely fell apart in front of everyone’s eyes, once again, placing everyone in their business with millions of opinions and eyes watching their every move. How can one truly heal with everyone (literally) involved? While it’s not impossible, it’s difficult, and voyeuristic.
Don’t compare someone else’s highlight real (or vision board) to your reality.