“You mean selfies?” the children asked. Haha, but really, I hate the noun selfie. I feel so pretentious saying that I don’t like the ‘selfies’, but it really doesn’t matter what you call them; they’re still just an image of you. I bring this up because I just took my first selfie this week. I even posted it on Instagram! I feel like I have to turn in my ‘unaffected non-mainstream counter-cultural teen’ card. I’m not as counter-cultural or unaffected as I imagine myself to be, but I honestly hate feeling like a walking talking stereotype of a teenager. Anyways, I had no idea how to take pictures of myself (or anything for that matter) so I watched a ton of youtube videos on how to take Instagram photos. Here is my first selfie taken in true Instagram form. I was quite disappointed in myself, if that wasn’t already quite apparent.
A little background: This isn’t my first-first selfie, for I remember taking pictures of myself on my first cell phone. I didn’t post them anywhere and I deleted most of them immediately, but the ones I kept (for the time being) made me feel good about myself. Not the pictures themselves, but the fact that I didn’t look too terribly awful in them. I didn’t take pictures of myself (or anything else) daily and usually only did it when I was bored – very bored.
This is where I start ranting- People are doing the absolute most in this Instagram culture. It is not just young people, plenty of older folks take part, so this isn’t necessarily a generational thing (Phew! disclaimer out of the way). The problem isn’t taking the pictures of yourself or your food or your kids or your dog (the list goes on), but rather the need to always share. The inability to privately enjoy things is the issue. In the time you spent digging out your phone and getting in the right position and pushing the record button you could have been fully immersed in a special moment. A shaky (or very professional looking) iPhone video will never be able to capture what makes any given moment special, no matter how many filters you apply. You could make something look better than it did in real life, but it will never be as wonderful as the real thing. (This rant turned into a ‘live in the moment’ type thing, which was not my original intent. This rant will now change directions.) When you have extensive documentation of yourself through extended periods of time, it’s easy to see how much you’ve changed but hard to realize how much you’ve stayed the same. People my age will post a picture of themselves from a few years ago and juxtapose it with a picture of them now. A before and after, if you will. They then proceed to equate the outer change with a positive inner change, which is not always the case. It’s not my place to label people as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or quantify one’s personal growth, but when you pull the same crap you did in middle school but in a different form (drinking/drag racing/ smoking or even less ‘sinister’ things) this perceived growth you speak of seems to be nullified. A new hair cut and a mustache does not change you, nor does the posting of inspirational quotes and Bible verses. UGH! Bible verses posted by folks who hardly make an effort to uphold biblical standards and inspirational quotes posted by drama filled/racist/sexist/ignorant people (or worse yet plain old bullies) is so frustrating. Just because your feed looks nice doesn’t mean you are. People liking you does not make you a good person- that’s another rant for another day. Don’t even get me started on comparing yourself to others, being left out, and the amount of superficiality/fakeness that seems inherent with these sorts of websites. To end this lukewarm rant on a positive note, there are many good things that can come from social media, and I thoroughly enjoy scrolling through Instagram (although that may be because I mostly follow strangers). I think that may be where some of the good comes in. Connecting with people you’ve never met can be fun and enlightening. The opposite effect can be had when connecting with people you already know. In real life they aren’t that cool, nice, or inspirational. When they post pictures of parties you weren’t invited to it can be alienating. It can quickly become a competition. I tried to end this positively but I’m just a negative Nancy at heart. Just call me Dahlia Downer.
Anyways I thought this song was quite fitting considering my rant.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye (Now I’m making musical references!)