It’s the morning, you whip out your phone as you bite into that dry bagel for breakfast, only to find tens of beautiful smoothie and granola bowls incitingly posing. You decide to step up your game for dinner, and you whip out a dish you’re pretty proud of. In the next hour, you’ll be presented with hundreds of photos of people eating better and looking way happier than you.
Day in and day out, you’re constantly exposed to a curated list of joyful moments from people’s lives. Just like how Hollywood creates unrealistic beauty standards, social media creates an unattainable standard of happiness.
Here’s what you need to know:
Instagram is curated.
Unlike some other more casual platforms, Instagram is a place where people showcase their best sides. It’s always the amazing lunch that makes it on the stories, but never the three-hour meeting that led up to it. A purchase of AirPods is definitely posted, but you rarely see people work for it.
It may seem like amazing things come to every single person but you. But that’s mostly not the case, with the exception of some influencers. It’s just a matter of content strategy. Instagram does allow you to peek into other people’s lives. However, your vision is pretty much limited to the brightest moments.
This is perceived as a problem, and some creators do make the conscious decision to share their problems with their audience as well. More casual platforms like TikTok where some people post more than 5 times a day also challenge this trope in favor of spontaneity.
It’s called a “Content Creator” for a reason.
I do have to admit that some influencers live extremely glamorous lives which you’re more than welcome to be jealous of. But that’s just like the case with Hollywood stars: a rather small percentile of the whole creator population.
Some people take the concept of “curated content” a step further, and shoot multiple posts at once. This false portrayal of pleasure is especially the case with foodie creators, and I’m a part of this group as well. I have a pretty busy life, and a dedicated day to create content for my foodie Instagram profile. I typically shoot 3 posts every Sunday, and space them out for the following week. Even though it’s not my intention, this makes it seem like I’m enjoying a nice wine and food pairing for my Tuesday dinner, and a hoppy beer with my Thursday lunch.
I’m always honest about it. I never try to act as if my posts are real-time (Stories are a different case though, they’re always real-time) and try to show the background of what I do as much as I can. Despite all this, do I still get people saying they’re envious of me because I get to wine and dine everyday? You bet.
My point is, the work of some social media creators is not all that different from magazine editors. Keep in mind that content creators actually “create” that content as an actual job.
It’s not all that difficult to completely fake it.
In today’s Instagram-oriented world, the opportunities are endless. You can stage pretty much anything, and even rent grounded private jets to take photos inside without ever taking off.
The Russian company Private Jet Studio lets you use a grounded private jet as a studio. They also provide luxury items and a make up artist for the ultimate photo shoot. Reportedly, the whole experience can cost as little as 200 USD per hour, which is crazy cheap compared to a private jet that actually takes off and flies.
But you can go even cheaper. In 2019, the user @tbhbyron attempted a great con by manufacturing images of him living in luxury. He photoshopped himself into private jets and luxury stores. In return, he saw a drastic surge in engagement. You can watch his experiment in the video above.
At the end of the day, you need to stop basing your happiness off of other people you see on social media. Instagram is a great place to take a peek into other people’s lives, but it’s also far from a realistic representation. Do keep in mind that people rarely share mundane or bad experiences, and that some profiles are no different than reality shows.
What do you think about social media and unrealistic happiness standards? Leave a comment down below or hit us up on our socials!