First off, apologies for the tardy posting of Misc. Monday this week, as well as the absence of Fangirl Friday last week. Along with considering moving to self-hosting my blog, I am also considering changing up the scheduled nature of my themed posts. But more on that in a later post…
Today I want to play devil’s advocate to last week’s Misc. Monday post about radical authenticity. In case you missed it, my post was a response to the Daily Post discover challenge from a couple of weeks ago.
The prompt itself referenced a widely shared thought piece by a British expat living in Los Angeles, titled “America is obsessed with happiness, and it’s making us miserable.” If this essay somehow hasn’t popped up in your digital feed by now, I highly recommend giving it a read. Whether or not you agree with it (I agree with parts, I disagree with parts), it is nothing if not thought-provoking.
Last week when I posted the first part of my response to the prompt on radical authenticity, your comments made me realize just how “pro” radical authenticity my post came across. And with good reason. Re-reading my post, I wrote it from a stance that relied heavily upon the notion that curated social media feeds give us unrealistic expectations of life and false impressions of others’ happiness that in turn makes us feel inadequate.
Today I want to play the devil’s advocate to that notion, and to outline the ways in which I think an argument can be made in favor of a highly curated social media feed.
Many of you made some excellent points in the comments about reasons to curate one’s social media stream. Keeping up a professional appearance for potential employers or schools. Not divulging too many personal details of one’s life that might fall into the TMI category. The proposition that radical authenticity is a privilege for those whose social or cultural identities are not marginalized by dominant peoples. I LOVED hearing from everyone who commented, so thank you all again for your thoughts!
In addition to the points you all made in the comment section last week, I would like to propose that a curated social media feed does not necessarily have to instill a sense of inadequacy viewers. In fact, I would argue that it is entirely possible for highly curated vignettes of seeming perfection can in fact be very motivating and encouraging.
I would argue that whether a highly curated social media post is seen as a carrot or a stick, to put it bluntly, depends entirely on the person viewing the post.
For example, I know myself well enough to know that going on Facebook can be dangerous for me, because when I see highly curated posts related to certain topics (cute babies and puppies, of which I have neither) I get jealous and feeling a pang of almost shameful longing that I don’t yet have those in my life. Call it FOMO, call it social media induced guilt, call it whatever you like. No matter how much I tell myself that these are curated posts, photoshopped and carefully selected, I still feel down. For me personally, there are times when I make myself delete the Facebook app from my phone to avoid these downward spirals of envious thoughts.
On the flip side, I personally find Pinterest, which is arguably THE most highly curated social media platform out there, to be invigorating and motivational. Just a couple of minutes spent swiping through pins of recipes or DIY decor photos, and I feel engaged and motivated to practice my hobbies of cooking, baking, and crafting. Pinterest doesn’t give me that dark sense of envy or FOMO that Facebook sometimes does.
But I’m sure there are folks out there who are the opposite of me, for whom Pinterest makes them feel guilty that their kitchens and homes aren’t picture perfect straight out of a magazine.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, that I think we shouldn’t necessarily throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to radical authenticity. I do wholeheartedly think that a degree of authenticity in an appropriate medium is healthy and good, but at the same time, I feel that curated the ‘us’ we put out there can be really motivational too.
Tell me, what are your thoughts?
Until next time,