SOCIAL MISREPRESENTATION: WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE PORTRAY A LIFE ON INSTAGRAM THEY DON’T ACTUALLY LIVE

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“Come one man, you’re not that interesting.”


I like millions of others belong to the Instagram community. A platform where millions of people share their photos and video content with the world. Some people only have a few followers while people like Selena Gomez have 125 million plus people following them. And with a following like Selena, she can really put herself in position to make a really good living. With so many marketers and advertisers, this has become a very lucrative space to operate. But this topic is not about the lucrative side of Instagram, it’s the misrepresentation of the application. Too often, people are sharing a lifestyle that is not conducive to the life they actually live. And what is the real reason why so many post photos that don’t represent who they are in life?

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Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen are famous on Instagram and make incomes from their traveling and posting their leisure life on Instagram.

One of the reasons comes from what I had previously stated about Selena. People put up a lifestyle that they don’t live because believe it or not, there is an income to be amassed from these photos. And how can one make an income from taking Instagram photos? Well, let’s say you’re a traveling type of person. And every time you travel somewhere new, you feel the need to take a photo and share with the world. But something you also do is link other like profiles and hashtags. Then people will like that particular photo or photos, and comment. Now, if you’re a hotel and your name is hash tagged in the photo, you can see this because chances are the hotel has an Instagram account. But the hotel only takes notice when you are consistently out-liking them and their organization. They’ll eventually reach out to you because your traffic tends to be greater than theirs. This is a way to make income off of lifestyle.

Now, on the other hand, you have the people who are just a complete misrepresentation of themselves, which is the aim of this topic today. They show you how they’re off in some foreign country on a beach drinking expensive champagne living the life. When in reality, you can get a cheap flight and hotel to Monaco or St. Tropez, especially if it’s a hostel (sharing with like five or six other people) stay. And since a beach is surrounding everything with the Mediterranean Sea facing you, you can get some really get images. As far as the relaxation, you might have boosted an empty bottle, and then bought a glass of champagne to make it appear you’re popping bottles. When in reality, you don’t have bottle service money; you barely have money for that glass you’re drinking. So why do we live these lives through the medium of Instagram when we don’t have what we say we do.

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It’s the seeking of not only validation, but it’s even more confirmation through the seeking of validation that you don’t have a real existence, and you’re playing up to a character you’re wishing to become. So many people want to be something other than themselves, so they latch on to others or create an alternate persona so they can disconnect themselves from themselves. It’s the reason why an average person posting their daily life is not getting likes on Instagram and this person with them drinking expensive alcohol is getting followers. The person posting their mundane daily lives is not interesting because they are engaging in an activity that further forces me to think about my daily existence. I want to follow someone not me, just off of perception. Now, the person taking what is seen as average photos might actually have the lifestyle of the fake profile, they just don’t show it.

And in the end, that is what it all boils down to, the perception. We don’t care about the facts because the lie feel so much better than truth. But that truth is not someone else’s truth. We are running from our truth and living vicariously through another person’s fake actualization of what to them is a hope and dream of being what you look at them as: a somebody. We all want to be a somebody even if we are known for being around known people and latching on to their shine. Instagram is a perfect tool that explains not how interesting someone is, but also exemplifies how lonely and yurning for companionship and friendship we really want but don’t know how to attain.


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SEEKING VALIDATION: THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-RESPECT

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“You don’t need, you just want to fit in so bad.”


Throughout my life, I never understood the need people have to fit in. And I don’t mean fitting into a society as a human. I mean fitting into these peer groups so that we don’t feel like we’re being left out. We would rather belong to a group that dictates how we live than to be free and be alone. Because who wants to live this life alone. But there is a far cry between being alone and lonely. Celebrities have people all around them and at times they are lonelier than those with no one around. So why do people feel like they need to fit it rather than treating it as a want.

It starts when we are young in school. The children ostracize you from the group if you are awkward. And what is defined as awkward is the kid that does not do what all the other kids are doing. So if you are a kid that walks to the beat of your own drum, you’re a loser. You’re a lame for not wanting to fit into the construct. The kids talk about you and laugh like you’re one of the weird kids. But this does not stop at childhood. It continues on into your teenage years and into adulthood. So we as adults say school bullying is wrong and then bullying takes on a new form once you become adults. People start to play with your head on a more business level. But we still have not gotten to the depths of why it matters to be validated so much.

And the reason being is that we as humans yearn for some form of companionship. And at times we are willing to subjugate ourselves to torment for that companionship. Because we all have these self-conscious feelings internally that we don’t want exposed to the world. This feeling that if we are exposed then no one will want to ever be around us. Yet if we all have it, no one can talk about anyone else. Then again, internal shame keeps us in check and adhering to each other. Maybe at a young age I was a different type of kid. Then again I am a different type of adult. And as an adult people respect you for who you are, not what you’re trying to be.

See, in the end, validation is proof that you are who you think you are; but only by way of how others see you. So you’re the greatest when people love you, and not so great when they reject you. Your identity should be your identity, not someone’s else’s vision. And what’s even more interesting, people, who are heads of these peer groups do as they wish. The more popular person sets the tone for everyone else. Which is a reality that we see throughout life. The head says something, and even if we disagree, we agree for the sake of fitting into the group.


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THE K AND J EFFECT: WHY THE KARDASHIAN-JENNERS ARE SO APPEALING TO THE MASSES

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“They’re young, rich, beautiful, and influencers.”


For the past ten years, we have been inundated with the presence of the Kardashian-Jenner family. From the reality series of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, to their numerous business ventures. This family has grown into a nearly $1 billion brand that stretches all around the world. We were first introduced to the surname Kardashian from the O.J. Simpson trial. Robert Kardashian, the girls father, was an accomplished attorney who served as one of the counsels for former NFL runningback O.J. Simpson during his trial. He passed away back in 2003, while the name is still being held strong by his daughters. And as an addition came the Jenner family when the mother remarried former Olympian Bruce Jenner (Katelyn). Two of the Jenners would go on to edge out their own identities in society: Kendall and Kylie.

Why has the influence of the sisters grown in size the way it has grown. Ten years ago, when their reality show first aired America, must less the world, didn’t even know of the sisters. As socialites in their hometown of Calabasas (Los Angeles), CA, they were known among a small group of friends. Once the reality show took off, we were first introduced to the second oldest sister, Kim Kardashian. Soon after we began to get to know the two other sisters Kourtney, the oldest, and Khloe, the youngest. Even their brother Robert was brought into the mix. And the influence of the sisters began to spread. We only knew them as reality personalities, not business women. That is until they introduced us to their store in Los Angeles D.A.S.H.

And slowly, but surely, the two Jenner sisters began to emerge as well. We knew them as the rambunctious pre-teens from the reality show. But eventually, Kendall would be introduced into the modeling world via her mother and sisters. Not long after her introduction into modeling came her younger sister Kylie. Now with all the girls more focused on their own business ventures and less with the reality series, my question still remains. How did they manage to garner so much attention? And why do so many young girls and boys flock to them? That’s right girls and boys. And here is one of my theories as far as exposure is concerned.

When we look at the Kardashian-Jenners, they were supposed to be like anyone else who popped on the scene the way they appeared. They were supposed to get their 15 minutes of fame, and vanish like everyone else; yet they didn’t. So, why have they managed to garner attention and stick around so long? Here is a theory of mine, the introduction of social media. Getting involved in social media with an early start before so many other people joined. Their series became popular not that long after airing on television in 2007. But guess what else took off around that time as well Twitter (founded 2006), Instagram (founded 2010), Facebook increased popularity (founded 2004), and YouTube (founded 2005) increased popularity. Also, the launch of major networks such as the one their show is on E!, introduced between the years 2002 – 2009. They became popular right when social media and reality television was taking off. Fact of the matter is, they got in early.

That is a strong reason as to how they became so popular. Then what about the popularity with so many young people. Well, young people are what young people have always been. The age group of 18 – 35 is such a wide demographic, yet this group makes up the validation and association group. From the highly publicized relationships of the sisters, to their signature look. So many young girls and young women want to be associated with the K & J (Kardashian and Jenner) name.  But the boys love them because one, the girls love them. And another reason is the other one, status. Men need to be validated just as women do. So, to men, we look and go young, beautiful, their own wealth, liberated, and famous. Dating a “K” or a “J” would be the equivalent of winning the lotto and moving from your one bedroom apartment into a 10,000 sq. foot manor. The underlying theory is that if you date one of them, or a woman that resembles them, you have arrived.

See, in the end, the Kardashian-Jenners have tapped into something in America. And that something lies in the very fabric of our nation. That something is capitalism, validation, and fame. All three things the sisters have, all three things society holds up as a standard for what you should want, even if you never attain it. I don’t see them going away anytime soon. Because that 15 minutes, is pushing 15 years. And still, with business opportunities endless, fame and being a socialite is crumbs compared to if they really position themselves well. They are in the app world, and we all know how lucrative the tech industry can be. Whether you like them or not, they are no longer socialites, but the society standard.


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FRIENDS, FOLLOWS, AND LIKES: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO VALIDATED THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

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“You don’t know them, they don’t know you, but they’re your friends.”


10,000 friends on Facebook, 1 million Instagram & Twitter followers, with 5 – 10 million likes generated. We all want these stats for our social media circles. But what does it all mean in the end. It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know what to do with all this media attention. For most people, they have these social circles on the web so they can be validated for a comment or picture they post to the internet. But for those chosen few, it becomes a business opportunity to better themselves in life. There is always an opportunity somewhere, you just have to go get it. But why do we care so much about our social media following.

Let’s take a look from a business perspective. There are advertising companies that will dish out big money for people who have a massive following. And when I say massive, I am talking well over 10 million followers just on Instagram alone. Not to mention all the other platforms you have on social media. But since I brought up Instagram, there are Image result for instagram moneycompanies that may pay $1,500 to $5,000 for a single picture posted to your Instagram account. So if you’re posting a few times a month, you can generate a really good income. The Kardashian-Jenner girls probably make the most money. It has been speculated they can make upwards of $500,000 for a single Instagram post. But that’s expected when they have 75 to 100 million followers on just Instagram per sister.

Then, there is the other side of social media. That is the idea of being validated with no monetary income. These are people who enjoy the idea of getting multiple likes on a comment. Or making what they think is a poignant statement and people piggy backing off of that statment. Instead of people verbally complementing you, we are now settling for likes. Instead of becoming a leader, we are now all followers. I always find it interesting when I hear people who have no social media. It’s almost archaic for you not to exist in this space. Yet with all this needing to be validating , what are the psychological implications of social media. What are the long term effects of needing so much validation?

For starters, social media gives people who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice the ability to voice a concern. Problem is that people tend to abuse the power and jump on the bandwagon of causes that effect the opposition’s careers. It has also served as platforms where people spread their inner most disdain and hate. Implications of this shows they are hurt and need Related imagesomeone to talk to in life. It has given the people with no power, the power to push agendas forward. But we are becoming more self-conscious because we are putting our physical selves out there for judgement. We are more impersonal because human to human contact is rendered obsolete. And even sex has become desensitizing because we are inundated with so much sexual imagery.

In the end, validation should come from the inside out. Too many people have become too concerned with what others think, and our own views of self have taken a back seat. From over-filtering photos so it gives you a more flawless look on Instagram, to creating profile descriptions of yourself that are not even remotely close who you are in life. We have all heard that term fake it until you make it. But the fictitious lives we lead are so over the top, that we would rather fake it and not make it. Because the look of making it has become far more greater than actually having it.


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