Social Media Is a Place for Me to Be the Ultimate Perfectionist
By Rebecca Deczynski, editorial assistant, @rebeccadecz
In a span of about two years, I went through five different AIM screen names. I labored over choosing the perfect MySpace URL. I diligently tended to my Facebook profile before my friend count was even close to hitting the 100-mark. I have always cared about how I look online, but it's not just about how I might appear to others. I see my pocket of the internet as a place for me to carefully polish my identity—so of course I approach it as a perfectionist.
I have never been good at keeping diaries, but I've always found a moment to throw some photos onto Instagram or post a few written sentiments to Tumblr. The more time I spent online and the more I poured myself into my digital profiles, the more I realized that I had the power to craft my web-based self however I wanted. Online, my perfectionism could have a seemingly achievable end goal.
I'm not trying to present myself as a perfect person: I'm trying to present myself as a perfect representation of who I want to be.
When you grow up practicing an art form as strict as classical ballet, it's nearly impossible not to strive towards the impossible. But I'm also realistic. I recognize the sheer impracticality of reaching for literal perfection in every single thing I do on a day-to-day basis. I believe perfectionism does not mean attempting to achieve one universal ideal; rather, it's about any one person pursuing their most unique and optimal self. And this pursuit is manifested most manageably in my approach to my social media feeds.
My perfectionism takes the reins when I carefully filter my photos to create a cohesive feed.
First I take multiple photos of the same scene, edit a few with my go-to filter in Color Story (Summer of 59), bring the best photo over to Instagram, up the lux, toying with the brightness, add a subtle pink tint, screenshot the resulting image, post it in my private VSCO feed to check out my grid, and make necessary adjustments before actually publishing it my Instagram. Some might say that I'm only showing the highlight reel of my life, presenting a false account of how I actually live, but I see it more as a selective stylization rather than a total Photoshopping of facts.
I'm not trying to present myself as a perfect person: I'm trying to present myself as a perfect representation of who I want to be. I'll pair an artful photo with a self-deprecating caption, and I'll post rambling tweets that I've come to adopt as my signature. I'll look over my feeds for cohesion and style, and manicure everything to fit together. The things that I post online are all true to myself, and if they do seem a bit too curated and selected, that's just because they're a reflection of my own neuroses—and what's more genuine than that?
The More Chill Your Social Media, the Better
By Yasmeen Gharnit, social media editor, @yazzysjazzy
Confession: Like just about every other adolescent growing up in the suburbs, I cared a lot about what people thought of me. I begged my parents to buy me Ugg boots and saved up babysitting money to collect Juicy Couture tracksuits, because that's what teenagers wore in the early to mid-'00s (and also because I was infatuated by Nicole Richie). The goal was to project the idea that I was just like the majority of my Long Island peers, who grew up in lax households and could buy however many terrycloth tube tops they wanted.
But that just wasn't my reality. In trying to put on this false persona, I grew increasingly more insecure. So, I began to explore my own interests and found an outlet in Tumblr. I'd reblog angsty scenes from movies like The Royal Tenenbaums and Heathers, art from emerging photographers, and music from artists like Charli XCX (who was performing at underground raves in London at the time). I wrote lengthy posts about the pressures I was feeling as a teen, and commented on threads about books that captured my experiences. It was all very moody and everyone was all in it together. We were figuring out exactly who we were, what made us different from everyone else. Therein began my relationship with social media—one built on honesty, humor, and individuality.
There are countless studies about how obsessive social media use has negative effects on self-esteem. And it makes sense—if you're only seeing people as the best, edited versions of themselves, you will, however unconsciously, put more pressure on yourself to also look a certain way. That's why we tend to take hundreds of selfies that we can choose from for just one Instagram post. Simply put, it's not healthy to fit into one cookie-cutter ideal. And it's also not fun.
I'm much more interested in being completely honest about who I am and the messes that I get myself into.
Instead of treating my social feeds as a way for me to get validation from other people, I like to treat them as a means of self-expression. I'll post bad selfies with self-deprecating comments, because they're fun and we can't always feel our best. I also use social media to showcase art that I come across on the internet. It's a way to both explore different interests and relate to anyone who looks at my feeds. If you find my Instagram, and like what you see, that's great—revel in the ups and downs of life with me. If you don't, then that's totally cool—I'm not looking to add more numbers to my follower count if it means putting on another false persona.
It took me a while to feel comfortable with who I am, and my social media presence serves as a record of how far I've come (and the people and places I've come across along the way). The fact of the matter is: perfection is a subjective ideal based in outdated beliefs that success can only be achieved if you're beautiful and polished. I'm much more interested in being completely honest about who I am and the messes that I get myself into. When it comes to how you present yourself on social media, don't overthink it. It's much more fun that way. Trust me—I'm actually paid to do social media for a living.
Are you a social media perfectionist? Let us know your strategy by chatting us @rebeccadecz and @yazzysjazzy.