Over the weekend, I binged watched all of the episodes of “Black Mirror” on Netflix. Every episode is like a short film with its own storyline, characters, and setting. The cinematography is impressive as it effectively portrays a futuristic world that deals with modern-day issues. The episode that had the most impact for me was Season 3 Episode 1 “Nosedive.” This episode was set in a world that heavily valued popularity. The characters would rate each other based off of the content that they posted on their social media profiles (similar to likes on Instagram.) The episode took it further and allowed the characters to rate other people based on small interactions with them. For example, the main character Lacie purchased a latte at a stand, and after the transaction was completed, she pointed her phone towards the barista and gave him a five-star rating. Crazy right? And the barista gave her one in return. Basically, people spend their days rating other people and trying to increase their own ratings. But, what really blew my mind was how essential ratings were when trying to function in that world. The quality of their apartments, rental cars, jobs, etc. depends on how high their ratings are. Ideally, a 4.0 or higher is good but, a 4.5 or higher is elite. So, people strived to get the highest ratings possible just so that they could fit in with society. Lacie started at a 4.2 and gradually moved up after learning that she need to be a 4.5 or higher to get the apartment that she wanted. This attracted the attention of an old friend (Naomi 4.8) who asked Lacie to be her Maid of Honor on the same day that they reconnected. Bizarre. Turns out, they were both using each other to boost their ratings. After a series of unfortunate events, the episode ended with Lacie having no rating at all. She tried too hard to impress everyone and ended up not impressing anyone. Actually, she ended up completely humiliating herself in front of a crowd of 4.5’s and higher and being thrown in jail for trespassing…and then she lost all of her ratings. In that order.
So, what did I take away from that episode? Well, it opened my eyes to just how much we value social media and other people’s opinions. The majority of the time, we post photos and videos for likes, which is okay because that’s what it’s for. But the total amount of likes on our photos shouldn’t be the top priority. Post for yourself first and whatever amount of likes that you get is just what it is, no matter if it’s 2, 20, or 200. We spend so much of our time trying to take photos and videos that will get the most amount of likes and views, that we are not really posting the photos that we want to post, rather than posting the photos that everyone else wants to see. Recently, I learned that people actually put on certain outfits and go out with DSLR’s and take photos in trendy places so that their feed looks good. People are editing their photos a certain way so that it isn’t necessarily real, but it looks good. There is nothing wrong with editing photos, we all do it, but when it goes as far as physically changing your God given features because they won’t get you likes, that is out of hand and kind of sad.
Let’s be real, I am so guilty of doing all of these things. I use to post photos that I liked and then when they didn’t get an acceptable amount of likes, I would delete them. I would go weeks without posting just because I felt like I didn’t have any photos that people would like. I use to use apps to whiten my teeth and to slim down my face. I use to fix my hair a certain way and wear certain tops because they look good in photos. And after I posted the photo, I would obsessively check how many people liked it. I knew that things were out of hand one day when I posted a selfie and it didn’t get enough likes and the first thought that came to my mind was “This selfie isn’t pretty enough for everyone” and I took it down, even though I LIKED IT. No one else liked it, so that didn’t matter. That’s when I knew that I was losing my mind. I valued people’s opinions so much that I allowed it to alter my opinion of myself. All of a sudden, I wasn’t pretty enough or cool enough to post certain photos.
My point here is to say this, social media is a big part of today’s society, and it is essential in a lot of things. We all spend a good amount of our day scrolling through our feeds and liking photos. On average, we post a photo a day. Nothing is wrong with that, but I am asking for you to reevaluate your reason for posting certain things. Ask yourself this, who am I posting for? Why am I posting this? And if your answer is anything other than “for myself” and “because I like it” then you need to take a step back. If you delete photos that you like because they don’t have a lot of likes, if you alter your physical features to appease your followers, or if you allow a low amount of likes to affect your mood, then you are a Lacie. You are someone who lives for other people and not for yourself. That is unhealthy. Social media is a part of society but it shouldn’t rule your world.
Go on ahead and post that photo of your cat. Post that selfie with that pimple on your forehead. Smile, even if your teeth aren’t the whitest and your skin isn’t the clearest. Who cares? You shouldn’t.
Check out Black Mirror on Netflix, and if you have, comment your favorite episode.