Do we really share everything?

The definition of beauty has been constantly changing and evolving over the years, especially after the rise of social media. The younger generation, mostly teens, are under constant pressure to please everyone around them by how they look, assuming they should all be skinny, have flawless skin, the perfect Hollywood smile, and wear the most fashionable trends (otherwise, no one would want to be seen with them. Sad, isn’t it?). The thing is, you don’t really know what happens behind the scenes. For example, what many famous icons will not share publicly is that they may starve for days, pay crazy amounts of money to improve their image, and still take over dozens of photos before capturing the perfect one.

According to Goffman (1971), there are two ways in which an individual behaves. Those are referred to as the “front end”, which is how they wish to be seen, and the “back end”, being the exact opposite, which may usually be they’re normal selves. What people are sharing is not always their reality, but a mere image that they portray for the world to see. Another case is how most celebrities promote share their daily activities in a way where they would be seen as to have the perfect lives. Well, they don’t. If they did, we wouldn’t hear about so many scandals of the truth being exposed.

Basically, we all tend to display ourselves (both physical appearance and day-to-day activities) on social media based on how we want others to see us, which is our “ideal self”. According to Dr. R. Kay Green, “your “real self” is what you are — your attributes, your characteristics, and your personality. Your “ideal self” is what you feel you should be; much of it due to societal and environmental influences. From a societal standpoint, many of us are driven by competition, achievement, and status; hence, the creation and portrayal of our ideal selves.” This is why filters are introduced on social media platforms such as Instagram and snapchat and photo editing apps are made. It has also lead to the making of tons of articles and videos to teach us how to get take a selfie at the perfect angle and lighting to capture our best features. And we do so just so we can share it on social media for our followers to see and get the impression that that has naturally occurred, which will hopefully give us satisfaction and increase our sense of self worth (Boyd, 2014).

When you look at it this way, it would kind of make sense for all those celebrities going out of their way to perfect their images on social media platforms, because what they share is a significant part of their job. We sometimes forget that although it may seem that many of those who are popular on social media share what we think is their personal life, but is actually a part of their career, which doesn’t really make it personal, because it then becomes professional (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013).