Over the years, social media has taught the viewer that what you see isn’t always what you get. A perfect couple seen through Instagram might not be as put together behind the scenes. A model might give a false representation of their body. Is retaining things at face-value healthy for your mind? What truly matters when living non-influencer life in the age of social media? 

The modeling and fitness world is a huge part of social media. People go to their favorite model’s account and paint a picture in their heads of what their bodies should look like. The same thing applies to a fitness influencer because you mentally compare your body to the image on the screen. Apps like Facetune that modify the body in images, contribute to the false narrative of body image. 

BBC discovered a correlation between social media and body image. “A systematic review of 20 papers published in 2016 found that photo-based activities, like scrolling through Instagram or posting pictures of yourself, were a particular problem when it came to negative thoughts about your body.”

Body-positive Instagram pages are challenging the norms of the platform. Companies like Aerie post images of models that vary in shapes and sizes. Likewise, Good American, a brand created by Khloe Kardashian, made a point to have models who range in body type. 

BBC also revealed a study surrounding body positivity. “The researchers found that exposing women to #bodypositive Instagram content appeared to boost their satisfaction with their own bodies.”

Now, what about social media relationships? When your favorite influencer couple breaks up, you’re often left sad and heartbroken, wondering why they would ever do such a thing. Many influencer couples post videos after a break-up, sharing why the break-up occurred. It’s a wake-up call to realize that people have private lives behind the camera. 

Online influencer families like the Ace family and LaBrant families contribute to a narrative of what the “ideal life” should encompass — big house, designer clothes, all smiles all the time. Grace College offered its own perspective on a generation growing up with such media influences. 

“The challenge comes when we become envious of everything our friends appear to be doing,” read the article.  “We compare their online world with our offline world and we often feel we don’t measure up. Of course, we forget that we ourselves will only post the bright spots of our day.”

What really matters in a world full of false realities? People need to understand that who you follow is who you are influenced by. BBC saw some studies have shown that when you surround yourself with positive connections, your mind becomes more positive towards social media. Taking social media depictions at face-value creates a false image of what life is intended to be. 

“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack,” said American broadcaster Germany Kent.

As the quote suggests, staying positive can change your mindset on life. Being true to yourself and realizing that social media is only a mere series of photos is key to having a sound mind. A reality check is often needed to finally realize that not everyone has the same body and lives like you.  It is important to filter through life in a positive, healthy manner because drawing comparisons gets you nowhere.