Facebook’s Image Crafting
I saw a post today about social media and its fake portrayal of perfect lives, The article was a share by one of my high school peers thank you Daun Austad. The article basically discusses the annoyance of seeing the highlights of someone else’s life. Specifically, someone who appears to have it all together, when so many of us feel that we are constantly falling short.
The negative backlash of sharing too many pretty pictures. The resulting reaction of envy instead of admiration. “Chick, your taking up too much space on the world-wide web!” It’s like there is a limit to the amount of happiness and support, we can shell out to one person. It made me wonder, why are there are so many haters?
Social Media Backlash
This topic of hating has come up in some of the blogging communities that I now belong to. For me, the passion for Laufty Life stems from my love of communicating. I am an over achieving communicator and thus love writing and reading. I appreciate a good story teller and I love being captivated by someone’s experience. The blog groups help support each other’s efforts. Bloggers post questions to help each other determine which cameras to buy, what software to use and the best companies to collaborate with.
So, one day I logged on and saw a thread. A blogger screenshotted a comment from her follower that said:
“Must be nice to get free stuff for taking a picture.”
I was excited to hear I could get free shit for writing about what I love but it also dawned on me I had chosen another underappreciated industry for my new company. I had previously owned a spa and thought therapist were undercut for their contributions to healthcare, people just didn’t get a holistic approach at the time we launched in 2008. This post by the blogger was just one example, but the backlash for having too many polished pictures, to frequently. in a feed is real! While the blogger felt, they had a marketing company, the follower diminished her to a free loader with too much free time.
Look and feel too good, for too long, in too many instances and now your suspect. Speculation that your marriage cannot be that good, your kids can’t really be that cute, there has to be something lurking in that nice house of yours. It’s only a matter of time before people start saying your photos are fake, staged and edited. At this point it should be no surprise to anyone that social media is a valid source of information. For god’s sake, it swayed the election for the presidency! Social media has an influence on the way we live our lives, the products we buy and the places we go. Have you ever purchased something that popped up in your side bar? Social Media has opened a platform that bypasses Hollywood and recording studios to make the everyday life of an average Joe, live TV. If platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have that kind of power, you might want to consider what you post.
Keeping it Real!
Everyone is selling themselves in some aspects. It’s natural to present the best version of yourself unless you’re a bum. It’s a matter of preference whether what you present is polished or messy. How do you want to appear? Like you don’t give a whatwhat about how anyone perceives you? Do you want everyone to think you’re the perfect doting mom? Do you not care and are chill enough to not filter yourself in any capacity? I know my photos and writing have improved significantly since I started blogging. And I see the support and love for my efforts but I also see the hate. Hi, Haters!
Frankly, I’m annoyed that people post blurry, crappy, dark photos. That’s just me; an overachieving, super planner with a type A personality . High Ambitions! It’s a personal decision whether you decide to be vulnerable or cautious. Open with the details of your personal experiences or calculated with sharing a snippet of your time on an internal sharing time clock. I have friends on Facebook who don’t give a damn and post pictures of themselves smoking blunts, getting lit and cussing out their baby daddies. Airing every detail of their personal issues for sympathy or shaming. Then I have my suburban upper crest friends who are afraid to post at all because they care too much for perfect representation, or only post on a secret time clock they set for themselves. I can relate to them all.
I’m complicated! I showcase a dose of I don’t give a shit, mixed with I’m a perfectionist. My friends would tell you I am an open book. Extraverted and open, filtering my mouth is an ongoing goal I have yet to accomplish. My Facebook reflects that too. I’ll post my kids slamming each other’s heads into a bed board because that’s what they do. Or my annoyance at my husband for forgetting to take their snow boots to school causing me an extra errand. Yet, in my home I like things tidy, I can set up a perfect theme party, and plan the perfect vacation. I share that too.
For years, we relied on celebrity endorsements to sway what kind of cereal we bought, shoes we rocked or what makeup to use. All because the stars looked happy, rich and beautiful, and we wanted that life too. More and more these idols, superstars and celebrities, have proven to be as human, as you and I. Regardless of their perfect pictures. Some of the biggest star’s in the world, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince, had their lives end in the most tragic ways. So, we know perfection does not exist.
Hiding behind Fakeness!
I just finished reading We’re going to need more wine. A memoir by Gabrielle Union about her life growing up in middle class white neighborhood. She attended a predominately white school as a dark brown skinned female. She speaks about hiding behind fakeness, her journey to stardom and her sex life and marriage. Her ability to keep it real and tell her story honestly shows vulnerability. Ultimately making it a quick and juicy read. She digs into tough subjects like her dad’s infidelities, being cast as the black girl in Hollywood and her failed marriage. As a brown skin woman who grew up in Madison, I can relate to several points of her experiences and I thoroughly enjoyed her perspective. Her vivid story telling inspired me to dig deeper into my own truth and I hope to find the avenue to deliver it.
Nowadays with YouTube and Instagram we look for influencers who we can relate to, every day people. Because they have the same curl pattern or skin tone as we do. Making them the perfect inspiration to help us figure out what to do in our own life. I think that’s a great option, there are more women resembling me on YouTube than there are in Hollywood. Even seeing what hotels our friends check into, the food someone post from a restaurant, or a book they read can make you put it on your hit list. There is nothing wrong with that. What better way to find resources for specific information then to get it from the people you know and trust? Again, Why the hateration?
Content in Context!
Coming off a weekend where I got to spend time with my mother’s extended side of our family and got to hang out with my girlfriends from back in the day. I reflected on life. I won’t apologize for wanting to capture and share every moment on social media, because tomorrow is not promised. Trust me. My father was murdered when I was two, in the violent streets of Chicago. Mama was one of 13 siblings, many of which I am just getting to know. For example, my uncle was at the waterpark last weekend when we embraced in a hug and I introduced him to my kids he said “I haven’t seen you since you were very small, I spent most of my life incarcerated. I almost lost my life to the streets and decided it was time to make a change.” A real OG, hustler who was in the streets. Risking his life to survive, I felt his words.
When my mom was widowed with five children to raise she did what she had to do. She carried on and pursued an education, so that she could raise her family in a safe place and my childhood was great. I will never forget a quote she once gave me, I laminated it and kept it in my office at the spa I owned as a reminder.
My Story, My Social Media feed!
I am a black woman in an interracial marriage, raising biracial children in a high-income suburban environment. Being judged is not new to me. People want to undercut my achievements and credit my marriage with our financial success. When people see mixed couples like us, they often think that black women are choosing white husbands for financial gain. Like my college education, my entrepreneurship and ambition haven’t contributed to my household. I have many stories to tell. They aren’t all perfect or pretty but they are relevant, resourceful and very true. I connect with a variety of different people of different races, income levels for different reasons. A range of experiences entwined into my life, giving it depth.
My life was spared the violence, segregation or poverty of my parent’s generation because my mother shielded me from that. Perhaps, If my mom hadn’t tried to make everything perfect, could I have become a statistic? Did we ever stop and think, it is a good thing she never felt comfortable publicly falling apart? I’m sure she had to put on a face some days to get through a hospital shift that started at 5am and come home and care for 5 children alone. Consequently, I mom so hard! Then I take a picture of it and in a couple of days I may blog about it.
Happiness is possible, perfection is not!
I disagree with the author on image crafting
“It’s about constructing an image that isn’t truthful, authentic, or even realistic.”
Maybe people do have satisfying engaging and stimulating marriages with partners they adore? I do.
Is it possible that someone have a fabulous time on an amazing family vacation? What’s wrong with being a proud mom who applauds their kids online for winning the big game, or singing at the recital. Even if you had a sour moment in between there, is it wrong to pat yourself on the back because you pulled off a delicious recipe, stellar party or your make=up application was on point?
If you want to see bad things happening to people, turn on the news. CNN may be a better place than Facebook for politics and current events. When people are too transparent and raw with their experience oversharing the details of their nasty divorce they get slammed for that too. As for my feed, it’s going to remain a beautiful celebration of life, a reflection of my story. Gratitude for all that I have, all I worked for and the ability to reach my tribe near and far. It is my story to tell. I won’t let that be regulated by someone else’s expectations.
Comparing yourself to other people is always dicey. It can be depressing, frustrating or it can be motivating. There is always going to be someone who has more than you and there is always someone who has less. Your reactions and ability to have empathy, admiration and genuine well wishes for someone else’s journey says more about you than it does them.
Yet I hear the haters:
- I’m taking a break from Facebook,
- I only use snapchat, because it disappears.
- I don’t really post like that,
- What filter are you using on your photos?
- “I can’t believe people have time to post that often.”
- You can’t even tell what people look like anymore.
- How can you make an income blogging?
You can be the creeper never liking always watching. Or you can be the hater screenshotting someone’s feed and talking shit to your friends. It’s easier to dissect someone else’s life, than to examine what in your own life is lacking. I gravitate to those that create the narrative, sharing their beliefs, experiences and fabulous photos.
After being at the waterpark I edited my pictures, I confessed to pushing my kid down the slide while she screamed her head off. Nonetheless, I omitted the scotch tape used to share wrist band amongst family members, the intoxicated stories of the family members that ended up going to the casino and the fact that I forgot to pack underwear for myself, again! When we went out for lady’s night, I divulged it to my friends whom I always tell my dirty secrets. And when I shared that story my girlfriend said why don’t you blog about that. And once again I’m inspired by my tribe! It’s not a fairy tale it’s really, really, real.