I’ve been a blogger for over a decade and have seen the good, the bad and the echo chamber that any social media can be. For reference, I have an Instagram account, a Facebook page and profile, a WordPress account and a modest Twitter also. Besides WordPress I’ve been one of the earliest consumers of all social media platforms. When you’ve been doing something for so long with such regularity, you do start to envision a certain role for all of them in the life of the masses and how they promote reality or the antithesis of it.
While social media has been called fake over and over, I will disagree with that notion in its entirety. Social media has been made fake by fake people. Those people are probably fake in real life too. We bring who we are to social media. An airbrushed picture isn’t the definition of fake. An airbrushed opinion is.
What also causes some illusion of inauthenticity generally is because Instagram has become the front running face of social media. We didn’t hear as many claims of inauthentic behavior when we had Facebook only. The reasons are simple. Duplicitous people do find their footing a lot more strongly on Instagram. They thrive more on a picture-led, one-liner based, hashtag-driven medium.
Instagram, unfortunately, has become the modern face of social media. Even though Twitter has contested a lot of instagram’s popularity, Instagram remains more popular.
The way Instagram operates is also somewhat of a psychological strategy. People who engage with an account are called “followers”. These are “friends” on Facebook. Because the term “followers” is so commonly used on Instagram, there is an empty idea of some kind of banana leadership. This is deceiving to the person who is being followed.
This also leads to the development of herd mentality and echo chambers. No deep conversations happen on Instagram. Catch phrases are used. Pseudo intellectuals are birthed. Unreasonably stupid gushing over mundane commentary happens. You get the gist.
Also, many people who “like” a photo on Instagram aren’t usually reading the caption. They’re merely liking the photo. That, my friends, is the fake wave that you complain about.
There is a constant race to increase following too by people who can’t even string two thoughts together. This is overall dangerous. Many of these people aren’t follow-worthy at all. But they are emboldened by how many people agree with them in their echo chamber and so choose to live in it and draw more people into it by duplicitous means. Many of these people join hands with other struggling Instagram “influencers” and lure people into their fold. For reference, anyone who has a large following is considered, by default, to be a credible person and followed on Instagram. They could be a total dud but the number of followers determines their credibility.
So what’s the solution? There isn’t one. These fake influencers and account holders live in a free world with free speech. They can mouth off and build an audience. It’s like the Central Park. You can get many people to listen to you and even agree with you. All of these people, unanimously, will forget about you.
Anyone who wants to improve themselves has to read and interact and read more. This is why shallow influencers never get people who disagree with them. Our vibe attracts our tribe. When we target the tribe that’s like a sheep herd, we keep getting likes and keep sinking deeper in our echo chamber. It’s the quicksand of social media. It can really feel comfortable but can also fog our vision.