AOKO OTIENO: Social media has made our entire existence a facade

Social media has increasingly become a platform for the facade of a perfect life and whether we are conscious of this or not, each of us possesses a social image of how we allow our identity to be perceived.

It is this carefully constructed illusion that more often than not determines the way we are treated by others. For instance, are your own social media accounts the honest representation of yourself?

With the pressure to be socially accepted, many are starting to believe they must uphold a certain image – even if this image is entirely false. People are obtaining thousands of online worshippers as they sell them beauty, lifestyle, experience and adventure.

After being fed this illusion, the followers go out of their way in an attempt to recreate the life of those they have started to admire so much and the result of this is millions of social media accounts filled with fakeness

Because of the pressure of social media, we can barely enjoy a cup of tea on an easy Saturday morning without posting the same on Instagram, with a book we have barely caressed and which is by our side just for optics.

We buy shoes we do not need just to take artsy pictures of our feet; we become so absorbed by the awes and envy the shoes will elicit that we forget to be grateful that we have feet. And are blessed with the wherewithal to clothe those feet.

Aren’t most of us beguiled by dating Apps where we are busy swiping left for Mr. or Miss. Right? We try and build relationships not based on mutual love, trust, communication or shared values but based on folly from online articles. 7 Things That show He is into You, 8 Ways to Make Her Fall for You. Pray tell, are people projects, or generators that you can operate by reading a manual?

How about you spend less time inboxing random men and women hoping to net some free romp and spend more energy sprucing up your personality. Because your lousy personality is probably why you are not attracting anyone worthwhile.

We pick partners not because we love, respect and admire their characters and personalities but so that we can post them for likes and comments. For clout and hashtag, #relationshipgoals.

Young women agree to dates with men they barely like just because they are enamored by the allure of free food. How many are stuck in unhappy marriages and relationships because of the fear of online scandal or just so you have someone to tag to weddings or to post as man crush Monday?

We go on dates and engage in basic small talks while engrossed on our phones; we want the illusion of a relationship because we don’t want to put in the actual work that builds a relationship. We yearn for promise without the actual commitment, the anniversaries to celebrate without the 365 days of work that leads up to them. We want the happiest life ever after, but we don’t want to put the effort in the here and now. We want a deep connection while keeping things shallow.

Wait, does this generation even want relationships or we just want to be friends with benefits, Netflix and chill, send nudes and sext. We think being emotionally unavailable is cool. We claim that we want to take it slow, see where it goes; but it’s just keeping one foot out the door, one eye open, – toying with the emotions of the other but most especially, toying with our own.

We think success and happiness can be swiped into existence. We want to download the perfect life like a new app – that can be updated every time there’s a challenge, and deleted when we have no more use for it. We want to hide our insecurities, the imperfections that make us human with an Instagram filter; we would rather spend the weekend watching Netflix than having conversations with friends and family.

We aimlessly scroll through Twitter, Facebook; App after App, newsfeed after newsfeed just so we find convenient distractions from the realities of our lives.

In order to maintain social approval, we lose who we truly are- our individuality.

Yes, others may not perceive our personal traits, hobbies, and interests as ‘cool’, ‘acceptable’ or ‘impressive’, but it is these qualities that show what is most important – they show who we really are. Especially to the youth, no social illusion of ourselves can outshine our true identity. So, do not let society dictate how you should be identified. Do not try to change yourself in order to mould to social conventions.