The Selfie vs The Tagged Photo - Seeking Validation Online


Do you ever see a status or a tweet and low key think it's about you?

We live in a world where people are accessible 24/7 and emotions can get hurt without so much as even being in the same country as someone. Although a user of Social Media, I actually ... hate it. Apart from Instagram, bloody love Instagram.

I'm off work for the week, and so actually find myself scrolling social media more. It's automatic. You bored? Check Facebook. You waiting in a line? Check Twitter. You ready for a night out? Insta that bad boy.

I am one of the many people who subconsciously seek validation online. Someone wrote a tweet about buying stuff on eBay the other day so it immediately got to me because I love eBay! I work 45 sometimes 50 hours a week and everything I could possibly want is under one roof, it's usually fairly cheap and you can control shipping fees. I don't have time to scroll over 15 different websites for one product when I can filter an eBay search and even get next day delivery to my mailbox because I will be...at work.

But why did this tweet get to me? Why did this person get to me? Why did I feel the need to explain that? I don't know them and they're fully entitled to their own opinion.

Then, this morning, Jamie accidentally woke me up whilst he was getting ready for work and when he left, out of fresh morning boredom (I could have just got out of bed and started getting ready), I instead grabbed my phone and started scrolling Social Media, half asleep, like a robot.

I saw the usual statuses complaining about their work/life/the weather. Then I came across a status in which a person was slagging off someone for taking selfies. This really got to me because they mentioned how their selfies are flawless and their tagged photos are horrible and calling them ugly. A lot of people had 'liked' this status and even more had commented.

This got to me because, rather egotistically, I assumed it was about me.


Then I sought validation from three or maybe even four of my friends! Why? Whether it was about me or not why should I care about the opinion of someone who isn't in my life? Why should I care even if it was written by someone who is?

Because I low key seek online validation. Is it low key if I'm now aware of it? heh heh.

Later on, I found out that it wasn't about me and then I felt awful because some other person had been targeted! 

First, I'll talk about the photos I upload online. Primarily to Facebook because it's the easiest way to tag and be tagged with my friends, but also other places. 

The Selfie vs The Tagged Photo

I ADORE makeup. I work insanely early hours and so can go months without applying any because it turns into a three hour project and I watch YouTube videos and experiment with all kinds of new shit instead of just applying 'a face.' 

If I was to wear makeup to work because of the amount of faffing I do to get ready, I would have to wake up around 3.30am...no. 

So when I do actually do my makeup and because I blog about makeup and makeup products, I take a photo. I then post this photo to every social media because I am super loving my makeup.

Yesterday and the day before, I channeled poison ivy. I love to base my face (omg) on characters and people on Instagram all the time because it is a whole load of fun. 

This is the selfie. 



I have good lightning, posed lips, posed eyes and a good angle. You can't see my false tooth with is actually off colour BECAUSE IT'S FAKE, I'm not wearing glasses and you can't see the hot mess that is the rest of my not yet ready to leave the flat body. 

This is the tagged photo.


Bad lighting, not posed (I'm holding my dress down because it's windy as fuck), you can see my tummy rolls, my face is not posed, I'm wearing glasses and you can see my off colour false tooth. My hair is wild and it is generally not flattering.

I LOVE both of these photos. Not because I'm vain or egotistical (then again I must be on some level to upload these online) but because the first shows my makeup which I researched and practiced, I look over old photos to see how I've improved with my makeup skills and how I can continue to...and it's based originally on Poison Ivy! Who doesn't want to go about your day looking like Poison Ivy??

The second I adore because it was up there in the best days of my life. Yes, the photo makes me look like shit but it also reminds me of that time we went to beach which was windy as fuck, found shelter and drank from red cups. Joey lost his drink, cigar and ruined his white shoes. I fell in the sea and me and my Brother got some well needed sibling bonding time. (Blog post about that day is coming by the way.)

Let's take another one.



I already blogged about this day and people commenting on my makeup here but stick with me.



Again with these tagged photos. The first is posed, good lighting, no glasses, no half ready body. The second two are on snapchat, no filter, no lighting at all because it was the middle of the night, one is so, so blurry and we had consumed quite a lot of alcohol.

I love the first one because that makeup took me an hour and a couple of reference photos. If I had more time, I could have done better but it was good effort! And I wear thick framed glasses which blotted out my efforts anyway. 

The second two I love because it's memories of one of the best nights out I've actually ever had. We were drunk, smiling, laughing, and the film was really good. 

Selfies and tagged photos are a completely different science and taken/used for completely different things. You can't compare the two! 

But why am I writing this? Why do I let these things get to me? Why do I need someone else's validation, especially online, when people are entitled to their opinions? 

Seeking Validation Online

I will openly admit that I have low self esteem. Years of bullying, abusive boyfriends and chronic mental health problems will do that to a person. My outrageous fashion/makeup and quirky personality which definitely sticks out from the crowd is a fucking magnet for bullies. The real life bullying moved online as I grew up and then I guess it stopped? Or became indirect? I don't recall a line where I can define where it stopped being bullying and just became the norm of having social media accounts.

Too many people have become comfortable with being a keyboard warrior. How many people who would never comment/confront in real life write a status/tweet or troll people online? How many people will delete something that doesn't get any likes? Are we validating our self worth on how many likes we get on a picture and how many 'friends' and 'followers' we have? I...do...

I don't mean to and it doesn't mean anything to me in my real life but if I post a picture and noone reacts to it...I think all kinds of negative things. It's reassures me when people 'like' and comment because they're assuring me that I'm...right? Good enough?

According to http://blog.degreed.com/ : "Likes" and comments are positive reinforcement for posting information, making it difficult for a person to stop."

So, taking this information liberally, whether you post something positive or negative, innocent or possibly harming to others or yourself...as long as you get 'likes' and 'comments' you will feel positively reinforced and therefore continue to do it.

I have a love/hate with relationship with people. I love interacting with people and hanging out with people but due to my chronic anxiety, it's too much. I NEED to be alone to recover from being with people because it uses so much energy. But online, it never stops. You always have access to people and their opinions 24/7. They can directly or indirectly comment on EVERYTHING you do, it doesn't even have to be recently.

Social Media is all consuming. Connecting with friends, seeking acceptance and approval from peers. If you already have low self esteem or lack self confidence, each log in and scroll can be detrimental to what little self-worth you have. Uploading less than worthy photos due to other's opinions is apparently a no go? Because people don't get that you're human and that what you post online is a snapshot of your life. Noone should be LIVING online.

If you have started living online, because social media is addictive as fuck, it can affect every part of you. Your mood, sleeping pattern and even your ability to function. Thinking someone has written a status about me had almost ruined my morning. People have written them about me in the past, does it affect my actual day to day life though? No.

Again, according to http://blog.degreed.com/ "In 2012, a team of researchers in the UK surveyed users, 53% of whom said social media changed their behaviour, 51% said it was negative behaviour because of decline in confidence they felt due to unfair comparisons to others."

When I see tweets and statuses regarding certain matters, I compare what I do. If they are on about how many photos or statuses someone has uploaded lately then I automatically check my own. Why? What does it matter? But then it makes me think...I'll not upload a selfie for a while, I'll not post this, that and the other. WHY? IT'S MY SOCIAL MEDIA.

Face to face, would I even still know these people if I didn't know them on social media? And if that answer is an astounding no (which it usually is) then would I take and use their advice at all? No. 

Pack Mentality 

Public shaming is humiliating to anyone on the receiving end. Whether you're a celebrity or just a 'regular Joe', if you're picked and then attacked or publicly shamed, you're going to feel like shit.

If someone wrote a status or comment but noone reacted then would the damage be the same as if 20 people got on board? No. The more people react and enable online trolls, the stronger than troll gets and the more you feel attacked. It's a viscous and yet all too common cycle.

According to changingminds, the False Consensus Effect is where we tend to overestimate the degree to which our own behaviour, attitudes, beliefs, etc are shared by other people.

Verywell continued by stating that people acting and thinking the same way can be good for our self esteem and confidence. Maybe that's why people form these packs online? To feel good about themselves even if it's at the expense of someone else?

False Consensus tends to become stronger when:

- The topic of choice is of great importance to the individual raising it
- When the behaviour, attitude, or belief seems to be linked to a specific situation
- When people are confident that they are correct/valid

It's weaker when:

- Beliefs and behaviours are actually shared by the vast majority of individuals
- People are unsure what to think or how to act
- When it involves the individual being viewed negatively

(Taken from verywell)

The false consensus effect and my example:

So, taking my example of someone writing a Facebook status and a large amount of people commenting AND agreeing with what said person stated.

Because my newsfeed was filled with these statuses and comments, I believed that the majority of people supported what was being said. According to research into this theory, I have failed to take into considered that this is a snippet of 'data' from people in my 'immediate' social circle. This creates the false impression that most people support what this person had said.

But why was it ever posted? Why does someone else's pictures matter? Maybe the person was concerned about the person embarrassing themselves so thought to raise a point (albeit, not a good one) or maybe they have the traits of an internet troll. Maybe insecurity of themselves makes them post these things so they can validate themselves online?

If this gathering was in person...would the person in question have raised these points in the way they did on the internet?

*****

I apologise for this post being a hot mess but it was a brain dump. Anyone who has tuned into this blog long enough is aware that I suffer from Anxiety and Depression and so I tend to have what I call 'relapses' where shit gets 'real bad' and I can no longer control my anxiety/panic attacks and I can't get out of bed and I can't do my job or life...in general.

Whilst going back to my doctors recently, I broke down (as per) and said that I was mainly fed up of not knowing why I was this way. I have a great family, I have never gone without, Jamie and I are as close as ever, I have fantastic friends who put up with unreal amounts of shit...I have nothing to complain about.

This doctor started to investigate my lifestyle. I've felt this way since I was 11 and my lifestyle has changed a lot since so I never really concentrated on it too much. I try and lead a healthier lifestyle, I try to exercise and I work. I try and socialise and generally exist in some form of harmony with my brain. It was then it hit me like a tonne of bricks to the face that Social Media, although not the cause of the my mental health problems...my therapist is on that case, is a huge contribution to my emotional state. I already find it hard to function and I feel like Social Media can often become the nail in the coffin of making it just that bit harder.

Essentially, it comes down to a sense of belonging. We all want to feel valued and have people feed our self esteem and/or ego. We are in a digital revolution where you can't finish your shift at 5pm and leave it until the next day. There is no switching off. It is how a person can handle themselves and more so - other people. The key is to be nice to other people and to really concentrate on not being an arsehole online. Try to remember that people don't share 100% of their lives online and so it is impossible to compare yours to theirs.

In the words of my Doctor, "My top tip is to stop comparing yourself to other people."

And it's true. Because they will never be you and you will never be them.

Credit: Tumblr

*****


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