On Instagram, Alexis posts flat-lays of her black Gucci Marmont Matelassé mini bag angled perfectly next to her Starbuck’s Strawberry Açai Refresher. She posts images captioned #ootd, exhibiting her brand new Nike Air Force 1’s, designer leather trousers, Gucci belt, and Givenchy hoodie. She posts stories of the Sugarfish ‘Trust Me’ take-out box next to her roommate’s trendy coffee-table books. She posts pictures in her friend’s Tesla Model X, being sure to showcase its falcon wing doors, and being sure not to tag her friend in it.
Alexis is too poor for social media Alexis. And, she doesn’t even like sushi.
On Instagram, Alexis posts selfies of herself. She posts selfies from one angle—an angle that makes her face look less round and more heart-shaped. She posts selfies that show off silky skin, curled hair, full lips, and a small, sharp, quite photo-shopped, nose. She posts selfies in natural lighting, and with captions her friends came up with in their group chat. She posts selfies wearing foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, highlight, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, lipgloss.…
Alexis is too ugly for social media Alexis. Or, another way to put it: Alexis is too ugly for ‘face-tuned’ Alexis.
On Instagram, Alexis has 10,500 followers. She gets an average of 2,800 likes per post, depending on its content. For selfies, she gets more likes. For flat-lays, less. She normally gets approximately 50 comments per picture, again, depending on the content. Half of the comments, though, are from random men thinking their pick-up line will actually get them laid. The other half are from her Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters. Her DM’s are filled with “let’s shoot” messages, heart eye emojis, and other trivial phrases attempting to further validate what she gets told all the time.
Alexis is too unpopular for social media. Not to mention she doesn’t even know one-tenth of social media Alexis’s follower-count in real life.
On Instagram, Alexis posts pictures of Europe, Asia, Australia. She posts landscape photos revealing Ireland’s famous cliffs of Moher. She posts close-ups of the crystal clear waters of the Maldives. Jet-skiing in Bali. Skydiving in Switzerland. Shark-cage diving in Hawaii. She posts drone shots displaying mountains, cities, beaches, cliffs, villas, snow, islands, waterfalls…
Alexis is too mundane for social media Alexis. In fact, she hasn’t even been to half the places social media Alexis has been—or should I say, half the places social media Alexis has google-imaged.
Alexis wouldn’t be friends with social media Alexis. Through social media Alexis is really just Alexis behind a screen, they appear as two completely different people. Today, social media allows any one to digitally morph into somebody they’re not. Consequently, social media users are perceiving, deeming, and rating—rather than knowing, meeting, and connecting. So many people think they know somebody based off of their 3 minute ‘stalking session’ on social media; however, usually their perceptions are far from the truth.
It’s ironic that the tools designed to make us more connected have made us feel more divided than ever. A chasm forms between Alexis and social media Alexis—a chasm that often creates materialistic boundaries among people whom, in real life, would connect ever so well.
Would you be friends with social media you?
Laura Smolenski, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Spring 2019 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: How does social media impact your relationships?