I wrote a blog post two years ago about the relationship between our self-worth and the numbers we accrue on social media platforms and in other aspects of our lives, but I’ve recently felt the need to dive a little deeper into the topic, specifically with regards to social media.
Our numbers are defining in the way they fluctuate from day to day. Less means dislike and more means validity. We strive to make them grow, put up any form of content we think will appease the masses, making sure not to offend, trigger, upset, or force into an awareness of the reality that is being missed out on. The female form can be commodified for likes and follows, but only if it’s not too real—if it’s not showing too much that reminds you it’s not just there for ogling, but for a purpose beyond aesthetics.
We pose, we hashtag, we repost, we refresh—all to no end because tomorrow is another day with another series of numbers we are trying to use to signify that we are worthy. Do our lives really matter if no one is there to approve of them with a red heart? Would we even care to share them if there wasn’t a recipient on the other end eagerly waiting to voyeuristically experience the existence of these fake gods behind their false facades?
Somehow—I’m not quite sure how—we’ve managed to tie a lot of meaning to these platforms that only censor us and create an algorithm that favours sellable people. As though we have a shelf-life. As though who we are and not what we do has to be considered worthy enough to be bought. If you don’t have a price tag attached to your handle in the form of a verified checkmark then you should step aside and let the professionals do their thing. They live life better.
But, what happens when there is a glitch? A devastating blow to the previously unstoppable stream of posts and likes and posts and likes? Is this where you watch your social identity, your digital career, your online existence die? Or is this where you start to live?