With the compound disaster that this year has been so far, it’s easy to forget what our day-to-day concerns were like in a simpler time- but some people certainly haven’t. Now, more than ever we find ourselves collectively scrutinising the selfie culture we’ve bred on social media like an LED petri dish, and asking ourselves if our shared obsession with likes and virtual engagement is really worth it?
YouTube user joeybtoonz uploaded a video showcasing commentated footage of would-be influencers which left my thoughts provoked (much like the poor bear that woman kept harassing):
Though, I’m not sure I found it thought-provoking for the right reasons.
While, as Joey’s channel suggests, there’s much evidence to make a case for the link between social media and narcissism, I feel like we’re becoming more and more needlessly pessimistic. And if there’s one thing we don’t need more of right now, it’s pessimism.
Now more than ever, social media is allowing people to have their voices heard. Whether it’s outing famous douchebags, spreading life-saving information regarding BLM protests (and also how to help), or allowing small artists and businesses to be seen, we’re living in an era of accessibility and truth. For the first time ever, mass disinformation by the powers that be is becoming an extinct art form and the control of mass media is in the public’s hands.
While it’s tempting to try to separate the ‘good’ social media posts from the ‘vapid’ like those ridiculed in the video, any line drawn between them will, at the end of the day, be arbitrary and subjective. Besides, isn’t policing social media’s free rein of content kind of against the point? If there’s a market for Instagram stars posing next to trashcans, then who are we to deny the people what they want?
Also, the claim that social media cultivates egocentrism in millennials and generation z isn’t completely black and white. Yes, studies have found there to be a potential link between social media and narcissism, but other studies have found the inverse. The truth is, we just don’t know.
And let’s face it, right now we have bigger things to worry about than some pretty people making a quick dollar off the back of a selfie. Let people enjoy things- cringe culture is so 2014. And let’s not forget, the video in question which showcased that primo influencer cringe is watermarked with- you guessed it- a YouTube channel handle, allowing the creator to build his following. Almost like he’s some kind of influencer himself. Good for him.
If you want to give it a try yourself, check out these tips on how to spruce up your Insta feed and get the fans flowing in.