Tag Archives: social media

Instagram

Sometimes I wonder if I have well & truly lost my mind. Whether I had it together in the first place is debatable, but seriously. Whenever I buy something pretty I have this sick, self-obsessed routine;
I will get home. Put my bags down. Take my shoes off. Pretty normal shit, right? Then, the FIRST thing I do is grab the objects of my misspent money & I traipse around the house trying to find THE perfect place to get THE perfect picture to upload to Instagram. It’s both narcissistic & sad, yet I cannot stop. & this is why Instagram is essentially one of the most fucked up & contrived social media platforms to have ever leached its cancerous roots into my life.

I LOVE Instagram, let’s get this one fact straight before people hound me for my meticulously curated account of preplanned beautiful shit that I oft upload. I LOVE IT. I CHECK IT RELIGIOUSLY. I UPLOAD RELIGIOUSLY. I STALK PEOPLE RELIGIOUSLY. I’m obsessed with it to the point that it’s starting to mould & shape my everyday life in a way that is both laughable & toxic. Facebook, on the other hand, kind of pisses me off. The amount of times I see posts about something like animal abuse & then stew on it for weeks while never actually doing anything tangible about it is ridiculous. Facebook annoys me constantly, even though I for some reason still have it. Mostly to laugh at funny shit & tag my boyfriend in things, I guess. WHY is it, though, that Facebook well & truly has the ability to upset me regularly, & yet all Instagram does it satiate some primal magpie-like desire to see bucket-loads of pretty things? BECAUSE INSTAGRAM ISN’T FUCKING REAL. I’m NOT saying that every person that’s using it is fake (hello, am I not one?! I’m addicted to this shit). But every single upload on Instagram comes from a completely falsified & preordained place, & it’s not an honest representation of either life or who we are as individuals. It’s curated like an art gallery would be, the entire process of uploading an image much more intricate of a thought process than you have probably ever considered.

Source: google

Let’s take a look at the ‘insta-celebrity’, shall we? The kind that posts their breakfasts to receive upwards of 10,000 likes for a bread board with food on top of it (no boobs in sight & 10,000 likes?! Witchcraft). While you or me would just make our breakfast & fucking eat that shit while wishing we could go back to bed, I imagine the ordeal of being an Instagram celebrity & eating breakfast would be utterly exhausting. While we would just shoot it on our iPhones while sipping coffee, my half-trained & unfinished-photography-degree eye tells me that these people take their pictures on a professional-standard digital SLR camera. Normal people speak? An expensive camera with a big-ass lens. That’s why their toast looks FABULOUS. It was taken on a fabulous camera, & maybe even tweaked on photoshop before being emailed to their mobiles to then be uploaded on Instagram with a pretty filter. & that is the process to getting thousands upon thousands of likes for a food photo. How much more contrived & constructed could anything possibly be?

I’m not here to just rag on other people who can’t defend themselves, I’m going to rag on myself too. My selfie-taking process (just the word selfie has immeasurable amounts of self obsession which I am ashamed of) is lengthy & stupid. First of all, I never take selfies in front of people. Obviously, it’s EMBARRASSING. There is an innate part of me that is at least trying to be normal. If someone were to film me taking selfies & play it back I’m sure it would be the most cringeworthy thing ever. Nearly as cringeworthy as Kim Kardashian’s selfie book. I probably take, on average, 30 selfies in a selfie session. 30. THIRTY. T-H-I-R-T-Y PICTURES OF MY OWN FACE. Then I cull. Double chin in that one? Delete. Eyebrow hair out of place? Gone. Hair looking flatter than my sorry ass after drinking a bottle of wine the night before? Fuck no, delete. So then there’s the candidates. I will look at each (say, three?) ten times each; picking them to within an inch of their lives. Two will get deleted as I looked at them so much they’re now butt ugly. There is a victor, finally. A face I am okay with letting my followers see. Better slap a filter on it so I look better than I actually do in real life. VOILA. AN INSTAGRAM SELFIE POST! I have literally micro-managed this picture to within an inch of its life. It’s not casual. It’s not simple. It’s not even really that honest, I guess.

Before Instagram. Raw image.

Before Instagram. Raw image.

After Instagram, including a filter etc.

After Instagram, including a filter etc.

Such is the premise of instagram. It’s not really an accurate or correct representation of anyone’s lives, including my own. Instagram shows what people deem the “best” parts of their lives: the holidays, the shopping sprees, their dimple free asses after the 100 squats a day challenge & their new, juicy fake boobs which came with a free side of 20,000 new followers. At least on Facebook people sometimes get drunk & write a status about their dodgy baby daddy who hasn’t paid child support since their kid was born. At least that’s real as fuck, however questionable it may be to over share on the internet. You will rarely see that kind of raw honesty on Instagram among the green juices & Wang Rocco bags. I guess that’s why I love it, it’s all amazing shit & none of the bullshit. But it also pains me, because I pride myself on being such an ‘honest’ & ‘real’ person. But anyway, I’m off to make a coffee & construct a beautiful vignette of it for Instagram to hopefully get 100 likes. 100 likes or why bother, right?!

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“#ZeroTrollerance”

I’ve previously stated that the dialogue about suicide needs to be started. That it’s taboo & shouldn’t be, & that we should find a way to eliminate the shame in talking about suicide. I still stand by this statement. Suicide, like anything else, is a symptom of illness. It says a lot about our society that we can openly discuss sores, snot & rashes as a result of an illness but we cannot fathom discussing suicide at the dinner table. I find it difficult to discuss. I really do, it’s something that has changed my life. Because of this, I am a supporter of anything that facilitates discussion about mental health & suicide. Previously, it has been something that is not to be mentioned.  A real no-no. You’d have people turning up their noses at you & whispering behind their hands about the audacity of such a subject of discussion. That’s changing, & it’s a very positive thing.

A couple of days ago the “#ZeroTrollerance” hashtag reared its head on Facebook. On further investigation, it seems Jules Lund did a radio special with some celebrities to discuss his approach to social media “trolls”. Lund’s advice to just block “trolls” online is probably one of the most logical & level headed responses I have seen lately. You can literally stop it with one button. But no doubt the passing of Charlotte Dawson has influenced this whole paradigm shift in the discussion of mental health. I do not wish to discuss her death, it’s been done enough. I also don’t have the right, I did not know her. I do not know anything about her life, & so am not able to draw intelligent conclusions about the topic. Her passing has magnified the role cyber bullying contributes to mental health issues. Magnified a great deal. Herein lies the problem.

We all should have respect for everyone. We are all human. Skin, flesh & bone. We are all one & the same, pardon the cliché. This is why it’s important to be respectful, kind, & tolerant as much as we possibly can. It’s something I struggle with daily, I am no Saint. I try to practice what I preach. Sometimes it’s fucking hard when someone is driving ridiculously slow & you’re late. But really, when you step outside of your own little universe where you are the sun & that dickhead is Uranus, it doesn’t matter. At all.

Rapid digitization of everything & the anonymity this facilitates, co-mingled with widespread human obsession with social media has borne a new type of bullying. ‘Cyber-bullying’. I cannot deny that respect is lacking on the internet. I’ve experienced it myself. Nor can I deny that it’s sad. It just seems to be a result of giving someone internet access & the ability to hide themselves. We have to expect it. It seems almost… Natural. Dare I say it. It was always going to happen. But the media has drawn a CAUSAL link between cyber-bullying & suicide. As a result, everyone is fighting cyber-bullying as though their lives depend on it. Seriously. As though if we don’t stop it thousands of people may lose their lives. Some may, but it’s melodramatic at best by the media to think that most suicides are a result of bullying.

This is simplistic. This demeans mental health, purely by ignoring the myriad of factors that contribute to it. This, I believe, is not a GENUINE way to prevent suicides. Should people rally against “trolls” (I hate that term). Yes. If they want to. If they feel passionate about trying to eradicate them. Will this reduce suicide statistics on the whole? I’m not sure. Mindframe, using statistics taken from the ABS, say that roughly 2,320 people die by suicide yearly in Australia. 76% of those deaths are male. The narrative told by the media would have us believe most are female, & victims of vitriolic online bullying. The statistics compared to media reporting is somewhat worrying, to say the least. To convince people that suicide is caused by nasty words ALONE is unfair. Suicide is complex. Trying to understand it is a daily burden on those left behind. Trying to understand ones own mental health problems is a metaphorical minefield of heavy shit. So simplifying either of these things seems to be quite offensive. I hope this doesn’t seem dramatic, but I am offended by it. Accepting & understanding the role mental illness plays in suicide is important. Simplifying it isn’t correct. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right.

The 'Biopsychosocial' model of health. A simplistic look at the varying contributing factors to mental health. There are many.

The ‘Biopsychosocial’ model of health. A simplistic look at the varying contributing factors to mental health. There are many.

The ‘zero tolerance’ approach like ‘Charlotte’s Law’ irks me. It’s like a modern day, cyber witch hunt. “Throw them in jail”. “Let them rot”. “They are scum, they should get what they deserve”. Hello? Sound familiar at all? We’re fighting cyber bullying with cyber bullying, are we? The people who feel validated from hurting others are more than likely hurting too. So, we’re going to publicly shame them? Slander them? & try to pass legislation to make it actionable to punish these people? This is illogical. I’m not denying the seriousness of what they do, I argue that CONDEMNING them is too simplistic of a solution also. They are people with underlying causes & reasons as to why they do what they do. Perhaps they suffer from mental illness also. Perhaps they are clinically depressed. It’s all too complicated, intricate & intertwined for me to believe a zero tolerance approach & legislation is the solution.

Encouraging respect is important. Letting people know cyber bullying isn’t okay? Yeah, that’s important too. Simplifying suicide down to the general premise that “being mean might make someone take their life. Don’t do it EVER or we will PUBLICLY CONDEMN YOU” is worrying. Suicide is complex. It deserves respectful dialogue about the MANY underlying causes & factors. Perhaps cyber bullying & suicide have a relationship in some circumstances, but we would be better off separating the two & tackling them as issues in & of themselves. So many people take their lives for a great deal of other reasons. Shouldn’t we acknowledge this & address them too?

SANE Australia helpline
1800 18 SANE (7263) or www.sane.org

Lifeline Service Finder
lifeline.serviceseeker.com.au

beyondblue: the national depression initiative
1300 22 4636 (1300 bb info) or www.beyondblue.org.au

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