Are you a Facebook bragger?
I’m sure most of you reading this blog post are regular users of social media, most probably Facebook. It’s a communication tool that has infiltrated our lives and appears only to be growing in dominance. This comes at a price, as our newsfeeds are now choked with what can only be described as shameless bragging.
Whether it is a trip to the beach or a new purchase, people feel the need to tell each other. Throwing in an array of hashtagged words, some that bare no relevance to the image, the user knows full well how to maximise the reach of their day in the sun and the likelihood of people ‘liking’ their status.
The catalyst for this problem began last year when Facebook acquired Instagram. The integration of a social network based on imagery with functions that allow users to manipulate shots meant that the world acquired an army of photographers. All these enthusiasts were keen to start ‘sharing’ their lives, and what better way to do this than through a picture.
Now this post is making sound all grumpy, but I’m not, I swear. I am an avid user of social media, and have been guilty of taking the odd picture to shape my online identity. But the situation is now getting out of hand. Seriously.
Here are the types of updates that are most frustrating:
The selfie: Perhaps the most shameless type of image-based post. Despite the image often being crudely taken, the message it conveys is obvious: look at me, like me.
The baby shot: OK, babies are cute. But babies can be gross. Seeing multiple updates every day is tedious for the viewer, and can seriously put a strain on the friendship status you have with someone on Facebook. No doubt many ‘friends’ are now ‘acquaintances’ as a result of these updates.
The new purchase: So, you have just bought a new product that cost quite a bit of money? No one cares, and if they say they do, they are jealous. Or is that what you wanted to achieve?
Location location location: So the weather is nice and you have gone out for the day? Enjoy they day and stop taking pictures to tell us just how great the day is and #lucky you are in the #fabsunshine.
But why do we do it? I think that the ‘looking glass self’ is a great way to explain our actions.The term refers to people shaping themselves based on other people’s perception, which leads the people to reinforce other people’s perspectives on themselves. The originator of the concept, Charles Cooley said about us as humans: “I am not what I think I am, I am not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am”. Ultimately a person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others, meaning that selfies are here to stay.
Although you could try this: next time you head out for the day to make a purchase or visit the sites, try leaving your phone at home. Or if you have to take it with you, then remove the Facebook and/or Instagram app from your phone for the day – you can always download it when you get home. Remember, you’re an individual and you don’t need other people’s approval to define who you are. OK, this is starting to sound preachy, so I’ll end it here. But please, cool it with the bragging!