I’ve become somewhat of a social media addict. I’m not sure if it’s been exacerbated by the last year of lockdowns and deprivation of human contact, but that there is my confession.
So when my lovely friend Bronwen asked me to write an essay on the theme of Vanity for her passion project, Artemis, I knew I had to address this issue, and perhaps even tackle it head on.
My essay, Me, Myself and Instagram, explores whether my use of social media has made me more vain, and if so, perhaps it could be a positive as well as a negative.
Here’s an excerpt:
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I find myself gazing at my own social media profiles for far too long. I’m like some sort of digital narcissus, staring at this pixelated reflection of myself, examining my flaws (the posts that didn’t perform so well) and my assets (that one post that inexplicably seduced 10 new followers in one week). I pore over my recent activity in a bid to see myself as others do, trying to work out if my joke was really that funny, or how my feed looks from the ‘outside’.
I crouch in wait of validation, refreshing my screen, hungrily pouncing on each notification as it flies in.
This is, perhaps, the modern-day equivalent of staring into a mirror for hours on end, or waiting for the latest weekly update from some Lady Whistledown-esque gossip columnist.
Since I’m spending so long fixating on how I appear online, I have to wonder if this social media addiction brings with it an obsession with myself.
Is social media making me vainer?