When it comes to social media, life is filtered to perfection. Creating a fake life on social media is easy, but it’s not ALL fake and grim. Some of life’s best moments are never even captured.
I’m just gonna come out and say it, and I’m not even the first person to, that the social media perfect life is really just fake. All that we see – and quite frankly, do there – is pretty much carefully curated, filtered to perfection.
And today’s comic strip is about all the fake life on social media. When we’re actually sad, we’re portraying fake happiness on social media. When we’re lonely, we showcase the social media perfect life with friends. Fighting with our partners? We show lovey-dovey pics to create social media envy.
I’ve never believed in living a fake life. My life, my views and my knowledge are what they are, flawed but forever in the process of improvement. As a blogger/digital magazine editor, it’s quite literally my job to make our Instagram feed and social media profiles seem interesting, professionally curated and I hate to use the cliched word here, engaging.
The success of our company depends on it, and honestly, I never minded putting forth the best version of my lifestyle and personal style for the world to see. ShilpaAhuja.com is a glossy fashion magazine after all, not a science journal. That’s the tradition, isn’t it?
This is exactly why people post on social media. Seeing our own lives through literal rose-colored lenses is satisfying, getting “likes” gives us a dopamine rush and getting a compliment from a stranger boosts our confidence. It helps us see the best version of ourselves.
And for some time I didn’t even realize how picture-perfect my life must look to an outsider, until several aspects of its perceived grandeur and perfection were pointed out to me by my ever-so-honest-and-yet-diplomatic Harvard classmates, friends and relatives!
And then I scrolled through our Instagram profile, quite a long way down, then called out to my husband – telling him how jealous I was of this Shilpa Ahuja character and how I wished I could have her awesome life! She’s always impeccably dressed, posing nicely in perfect lighting, confident, she travels the world and is happy, like, all the time!
That’s when the idea for this comic strip just came to me. And I drew the first three frames. But the next time I looked at the sketches after about a week, I realized how sad and dark this comic strip was. Was social media happiness totally fake? Are we never happy? And then I drew the last frame too, based on an actual picture of my with my friends at a university party. When we’re actually happy and having fun, we don’t even capture some of the life’s best moments.
Some people even go as far as to say that ‘the more miserable you are the happier your social media posts’. However, I don’t believe that anyone who posts happy social media posts is actually sad. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But yes, looking happy on social media is easy, because we just tend to post the images that reflect the best version of our lives. Those moments are real, just not reflective of our lives as a whole. Real life is full of ups and downs, not just the happy, good-looking moments. Would we call that lying, or just omitting some of the truth?
The problem is that being real on social media is just as difficult. Posting the ugly truths and sad moments not just makes us feel vulnerable to judgement of being called “boring”, “attention-seeking” or “drama-queen”, but also less confident about ourselves. There’s really no right answer when it comes to posting on social media.
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]