Looks can be deceiving. We’ve heard it a million times before, and yet some of us still fall for it. In the current world, hyperreality is taking over, and social media is no exception. As its users continue to push these limits to keep their fellow Instagram aficionados on a like-driven leash, one can't help but remember the words of philosopher Jean Baudrillard: “We live in a world where there is more and more information and less and less meaning.” The lines between real and fake have blurred, while true and false are hard to tell apart. Luckily, the subreddit r/Instagramreality is armed with 723k active members who dedicate their days (or maybe years) to exposing fakery on social media. Let’s have a look at their most recent discoveries and if it’s not enough, then check out more Instagram vs. Reality posts here and here.
Bored Panda spoke to Siobhan Ward, a primary therapist at Life Works, a rehabilitation centre that provides treatment for addictions and eating disorders, about the scope of media addiction in the United Kingdom. "If you broke ‘social media addiction’ down into categories, it would encompass other process or behavioural addictions, such as porn and gambling, as well as eating disorders, especially predominant with the likes of Instagram. It may be that the addiction is not with the social media itself, but the social media has become a tool of other addictions."
So why can't people stop faking and altering their social media pictures, even when it’s an obvious lie? The answer might be more interesting than you expected. In short – blame brain chemistry! Of course, all these neurons have a lot going on. In full – “dopamine is the neurotransmitter that comes into play with the addict - it is what tells us that we enjoy something and therefore need to do it again as it gives us pleasure.”
“If the person is taking a lot of selfies that have to be “perfect”, then maybe they are not addicts. Instead, this could be a sign of a possible narcissistic personality disorder. Also if someone is posting pictures to get as many likes as possible, they may not be getting certain needs met in their life. They may not have the love, support or even safety that they need now or that they needed when they grew up and therefore have had to find another way to fill that hole.”
“One would need to become aware of what they believe they are getting from the internet in order to start resisting its temptation. By understanding why they turn to the internet, they can start to think about healthier ways to meet these needs.”
Of course, that's in no way an excuse for spreading fakery online. But at least we now know where to look. Hint: right inside your head.