Oversharing on social media

Ella Jiang, Staff Writer

We live in a time where the digital reality can feel more comfortable than our real one. Every day, I am overwhelmed with a conveyor belt of posts and videos on my Instagram feed or my TikTok for-you page, making me excessively aware of the details and intricacies of each person’s life in a hyper-aesthetic way.

Though, it’s fun seeing people’s lives like this: colorful lights, bright sunlight, beautiful views, beautiful people, things straight out of movies. We are constantly documenting and sharing to an online audience, because given the opportunity to interact with the world through the lens of your most perfected and curated self, who wouldn’t take it?

But oftentimes, there is a line crossed between what is healthy and unhealthy involving our sense of self when on social media, and when that line is blurred, it’s hard to realize that not everything we see or do needs to be publicly shared as an object of entertainment for it to feel real or significant.  

The more that online spaces occupy our lives, the more personal we start to make them. Instead of talking about our feelings with a friend, we’ll post about it, and be therapized by strangers online. With niche interests, it’s easier to seek out an online community than it is to talk face-to-face with our peers. Instead of gossiping with the people we’re close to, we can share the drama to an audience, and in turn, receive unbiased, as well as ill-informed–opinions and criticisms.

As we know it, performance and reality become synonymous; we start to see our real lives as entertainment, without facing any tangible consequences from this detached way of living, because technically, nothing online has to be real if we don’t want it to be because of how easy it is to just turn it off. The internet is such an escapist paradise, we start to distort our real lives and judgements to be that way too, to make life a little less daunting.

Regularly, I see people online speak about very private, even traumatic, events in their lives like a drama series to groups of thousands or even millions of viewers at a time. I see people I know needing to be the right amount of funny when talking about serious, personal problems. I see myself, making sure to look like the presentable kind of sad when I cry. Should I only try to  experience things in my life based on how post-worthy they are? If we can’t aestheticize the ugliest parts of our life to its most consumable form, is it even something worth feeling? 

Internet culture has polluted and pathologized so much of the casual spectrum of feelings in normal life that if we’re not making it look riveting and engaging like the movies, then it feels like we’re doing something wrong. The way we observe and experience the world should not be evaluated based on how similar it is to the carefully selected and edited versions. Life doesn’t need to be lived like it’s going to be presented for the eyes of an audience.