Are you an “influencer?”

Evin Nesburn, Features Editor

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Have you ever found yourself comparing yourself to others? If so, you are not alone. We all scroll through social media, saving photos that include some facet of “perfection” that we feel we must attain. What we all have to realize to avoid unhappiness is that these photos often display a fake perfection that can never be achieved.

Social media posts do not reflect reality. We don’t post ourselves sitting at our desk doing our homework, or eating a boring meal at the kitchen table with our parents. Instead, we take time perfecting our poses and going to extreme lengths to find the perfect background. For many celebrities, whole days are dedicated to finding the perfect setting for an Instagram photo, which is then made to look spontaneous.

Instagram “influencers” take this dynamic to a whole new level. An influencer creates an online life that others will covet. They perfect an image and then work hard to make it come off as “real.” The term “influencer” can really be applied to anyone: your friends, your classmates, a stranger on the street. Your name is your brand and thus a representation of what you want the outside world to see and what perceptions you want people to have from viewing your page. If you are really good at posting and develop a following you may even get paid to endorse products.

Celebrities get paid enormous sums for their Instagram posts, making brand deals to act as if they use certain products; this is much like old fashioned television but with an air of reality superimposed. However, these posts are not representative of real, daily life or the influencer’s inner feelings. By coming across as spontaneous when they are anything but spontaneous, these celebrities and influencers that appear to have the life we all covet cause us to more critical of our own lives and appearances. In fact, the Huffington Post cited that 60% of people reported that social media has negatively affected their self esteem and 80% of people reported that it is easier to be deceived by others through social media.

As we mature, it is important to not regard carefully curated posts as accurate representations of everyday life for normal people but to regard them the same way we regard glossy television commercials, where it is obvious that someone is trying to sell us something. We don’t compare ourselves nearly as critically to television actors because we realize they do not reflect real life. While it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone else seems to be living the life you want, it is crucial to remember that social media solely depicts the good parts of someone’s life, and does not paint the whole picture and quite often, is carefully curated to try to cause you to feel a void in your life that can be filled with whatever product someone behind the scenes is pushing.