I’ve had this Pinterest picture bookmarked for several months. I knew I wanted to talk about it, but didn’t quite have the message yet.
The reason I originally pinned it is because I think this image says a lot about social media, particularly Instagram and Pinterest.
When we look at the image we might think,
“Oh, what a pretty photo.”
Or, “Oh, what a pretty photo. Those girls are very pretty.”
Or, “Oh, what a pretty photo. Those girls are very pretty. I could never pull off the cut of that swimsuit.”
Or, “Oh, what a pretty photo. Those girls are very pretty. I could never pull off the cut of that swimsuit and I’ve never been that happy at the beach. I don’t measure up.”
Depending on the day – or our personality – this image could be a nice piece of inspiration or something that adds to feelings of inadequacy.
But when you take a second look it hits you:
This is a photo of a girl videotaping another girl wearing a blazer on a beach jumping up and down like she’s just won the lottery.
This is what a lot (but not all) of social media can feel like.
One the one hand we have reality: the girl in the black suit who looks pretty, is pleasantly happy, and wearing appropriate beach clothing.
And on the other hand we have social media: a girl wearing a black blazer on a presumably hot and sandy beach jumping as if she has never been happier in her life.
Will this unrealistic image make for good pins on social media?
In fact, this exact image has over 4,100 notes and shares.
Even though the image isn’t based on a realistic day at the beach, it gets tons of shares in social media.
Probably more than if the two girls were just walking along together sans blazer and euphoric jumping jacks.
Which is why the photo was made in the first place. And why much of the most popular content on Pinterest and Instagram is so curated and beautiful.
Of course there are also many realistic and popular aspects of social media, too. But those aren’t the parts that bum us out and make us feel like we don’t measure up.
So perhaps the next time we find an image of a recipe, home, outfit, or trip that looks too good to be true, we can just see it for what it is:
A pretty picture of a girl wearing a blazer at the beach.
Not reality, but fun to look at.