Everywhere I go, people are taking pictures of themselves. At the theatre, sitting in their seats, holding up their Hamilton programs and smiling. “Envy us, you wretches.” They take snaps of themselves having wine and cheese at trendy little out-of-the-way spots. My God, the other day, a woman held up an avocado and took a selfie with it at the grocery.
We seem compelled to do this. There are people on Instagram who post daily shots of themselves: working out, or smiling in the bathroom. Lots of people I follow on Instagram take pictures of their own feet. Yes, they are wearing interesting socks, and they are propped up on ottomans, but I don’t get it. Then there are the ones who think the world needs to know what their lunch looks like.
I have to admit, I love Instagram (follow me @mollydcampbell). I post a whole bunch of photos of my cats there, along with my drawings. I have posted pictures of things in my house as well.
So I have to ask myself: Who really wants to see what my cat, no matter how cute he looks, is doing? Is anybody interested in the picture of my great grandmother’s teacup that I posted? Why did I post it, anyway?
Here is why I think many of us hang around, curating our lives on social media. First of all, everybody else is doing it. It has become the norm to share huge chunks of our lives on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all those other hot places on the web I don’t even know about. Some people who do it are “influencers.” These are famous people. Some of them are celebs, but many of them are just individuals who are so creative, so clever, so infatuated with themselves, and so relentless in their pursuit of “likes” that they amass huge numbers of followers who hang on their every post. Influencers then can get paid for posting a selfie of themselves holding, for instance, a Diet Coke.
Do we all yearn to have influence? Do we feel that selfies that show us having so much fun, looking gorgeous, or eating delicious food make us seem fulfilled? Or do they just make other people think we are living a sparkling life? I don’t know the answer. But I do know that I am no different than a lot of people who post daily updates on their dogs, the amount of carbs they had at lunch, and their socks.
But notice the difference here. NO SOCKS.