In today’s society we are all a little schizophrenic.
Fake Youth is a photography project based on our social media society. It got published on i-D where I got interviewd as well.
If you are Dutch you can read it here:
Suffocation – Focusses on the pressure we feel to be part of the social platforms. The fact that you not only need to be part of it to create the image you exist, it is also the reflection of the comparison. That brings a lot of pressure with it.
Social media usage is bound up with how we view and portray ourselves, in other words, it affects our sense of identity. When youth base their identity on what others perceive, they develop a twisted version of their own worth, value, and capacity to be loved. The reason to start this project was when I discovered the power of social media and its effects on users. Discovering I was effected by the way I was using social media myself I thought it was interesting to start researching this topic.
We live in a society where we have the highest depression rate, and where the term ‘quarterlifecrisis’ isn’t unknown. It is supposed to be the time of opportunity and adventure, yet research showed that there is a large percentage admitting feeling pressured to; success, in their relationships, finances and jobs. This pressure stems from the constant comparing we do online.
Social media gives us the opportunity to share our lives with the world. Nearly 900 million people use Facebook every day. One reason is to stay connected with friends.
But some users, who spend a lot of time on Facebook, may find they are spending less time connecting and more time comparing. Research psychologist Leon Festinger discovered that in the early 1950 we already had the need to evaluate ourselves against others. One danger is that Facebook often gives us information about our friends that we are not normally privy to, which gives us even more opportunities to socially compare. Also we tend to measure ourselves with likes. The number of likes equals your self-esteem and your social status. With algorithms that have been put into these mediums it is impossible to measure yourself by counting likes which automatically gives a distorted image.
Also people using social media channels tend to post the good things that are happening to them – and often leave out the bad things – so when we make our comparisons we are comparing ourselves their “highlight reels,” and this “may lead us to think their lives are better than they actually are and conversely, make us feel worse about our own lives. Being faced with this distorted view of their friends lives may increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. Eventually this distorted view of their lives and the feeling that you don’t measure up to them can result in depressive symptoms.
Faking it – Targets how we share things and how we perceive things. Everything is always going really well, nobody wants to share their negative experiences. Creating a shallow image of ourselves and losing our connection.
We use social media to communicate. This can be done in various forms. When researchers investigated links between social media use and sense of belonging results showed that a group of non-posting people experienced a lower level of belonging and meaningful existence. To me it’s scary that your identity in so intertwined with social media, and what you put out there. If you don’t share enough, or you don’t have an account you practically don’t exist.
Perhaps that our relationship with technology is often more nuanced than we think. For instance, as we’ve seen again and again, social networks aren’t purely social, and they may even veer into the realm of the anti-social.
It’s important to keep in mind that life isn’t all about the highlight reel after all – and that it wouldn’t hurt to post about those quieter, less glamorous moments, too. That might actually go a long way in making people feel more connected, instead of just the opposite. By carefully choosing what picture, or what quote etc. we want to post we create this new identity of ourselves. An identity that is often quite different than the real life version.
Too often we give in to the pressure to craft the perfect social story, and we limit our ability to access the full range of human connection that comes from being vulnerable and showing our honest selves. The more you get connected to the digital dream world, the less connected you are with yourself.
We have less and less interaction in real life because the life online takes too much time to nurture.
Studies show that we check or touch our phones 150 times a day. Through social media we risk to lose our nuances, subtleties and the intimate part of our personalities. We lose the risk of not being able to fully express ourselves. We are constantly distracted. Next to being distracted all the time, the net makes us more superficial as thinkers. The scary thing is that we think we are connected but actually we are far from connected. The actual contact we have is superficial contact, having quick online conversations/interactions that have absolutely no depth.
Even when we are hanging out with friends we actually are checking our phone more often as if what is happening on our phones is more important than the person you are sitting with. Everybody becomes more isolated behind their screens. Starting from a young age where you will get a tablet to entertain yourself instead of the human interaction kids actually need.
Technology is a gift, but we need to make smarter wiser choices.
Compare it to going on a diet, you filter out the bag of chips and only eat the healthy food. Using internet for mandatory things and have a little bit of leisure at times.
Opinionated – Focusses on the freedom of speech. With a highly interactive environment such as social media we often are too quick to respond or leaving a comment. We hardly think about the consequences or meaning of the types of comments we send.
Social media and our brain
Social media is used by 1/3 of the world which gives it a huge impact on society. But it also has its effects on the human body. The overuse of social media can be seen as a social addiction. Research has shown us that we have the same reaction from the brain that influence drug dependence. Because social media provides immediate rewards that require very little effort your brain begins to rewire itself making you desire these stimulations. You begin to crave more of these neurological excitement after each social interactions.
Social media also triggers a release of dopamine. The feel good chemical, using MRI scans scientists found that the reward centers in the human brains are much more active when they are talking about their own views as opposed to listening to others. 30-40% of face to face conversation involve communicating our own experiences, around 80% of social media communication is self-involved. The same part of your brain that is linked to orgasms, motivation and love are stimulated by your social media use, and even more so when you know you have an audience. Our body is physiologically rewarding us to talk about ourselves online. So it all makes sense why we constantly go back to our social media platforms.
So is it time to cut down on Social media? Maybe. Or maybe we should just adjust our attitude toward it.
We often forget we are humans and are trapped in infinite visibility and lost the sense of measure. We are too overwhelmed and emotionally blind. Putting out so many details and information about ourselves online we forget that actually being mysterious gives you more power. A quote that Banksy had in his exposition at Mocco stuck with me; I don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower.
When everything is revealed, everything becomes similar. Even the opposites look the same, what is fake becomes real and vice versa. By the driving force of our hunger for attention we lose the sense of empathy. You can see it as everything being naked, it has no mystery to it. By the speed of the web and the way me use it makes us lose the connection, to the message, the image, the person.
What we tend to close off or choose not the show is the element the context or image needs. If the image, the message, a video is not communicating any emotion than it just becomes information.
We need to become implicit. Making things mysterious again. By hiding a secret message into the pictures I want to grab the attention. Not highlighting the best versions of our ourselves, but the honest versions. Expose the masks we hide behind. Creating mystery in the pictures is something I try to do by making it a distorted images. You are actually a bit repulsed by the image but you want to figure out the meaning behind it.
Identity – Shows the distorted image we create of ourselves. You can be anybody on the internet and you can shape your own identity.
Isolated – With the lack of connection and our faces behind screens we tend to isolate ourselves. We live in our own bubble of which we think is the truth or not.