Oh, I’ve Got Things Going On
Selfish Social Media Presence Post-Grad
By Ana M. Verde
So, like. Let’s talk for a brief second about social media. Or, rather, I’ll write and you’ll read and we’ll pretend it’s a two-sided conversation about the platform from which you saw this article and thought, “Oh, I’ll read it because I too have things going on.” Or maybe you saw it and thought to yourself, “Oh, I’ll read it because I don’t have anything going on and I bet the author of this article doesn’t have anything better to do than to sit in front of her laptop in her Harlem apartment and type about how she has things going on.” Or maybe you thought neither of these things and are just here by accident. Either way, I am a true believer in Instagram as the single best tool for:
1. (a) showing the people who bullied you in high school that your skin is finally clear and your hair is no longer frizzy (#glowup #bestlife);
2. (b) providing your trash ex-boyfriend with images that portray that you are the happiest you have ever been (#movedon #bestlife); and
3. (c) letting everyone know that you are the funnest person alive via posting fierce group shots of you and your girls on a night out (#squadgoals #bestlife)
But post-grad, things change a little. It’s a post-grad trend, I’ve found, to simulate hyper-productivity via social media. People posting links to their websites on Facebook asking for “feedback,” when really they are not interested in your feedback – they are interested in showing that they’ve spent a good 12 hours picking a Squarespace layout that screams “I’M WORKING HARDER THAN YOU.”
Instagram suddenly gains a fourth function:
(d) post incessantly about your new projects to make the people who graduated alongside you feel absolutely mortified at their lack of productivity immediately after graduating in comparison to your productivity (#hustle #bestlife)
Our social media presence represents whatever is going on in our lives at the moment, right? It is a way in which we can curate people’s perceptions of us without having to actually interact with them. But social media also helps to represent ourselves... to ourselves. How much do I actually care about everyone knowing what I am up to? What I more so care about is that I can turn to my aesthetically pleasing profile and see that I am the well-rounded young woman that my mother always dreamed for me to be: beautiful, carefree, fun, and now productive. I am productive. I am productive. Say it three times to make it true: I am productive. I am productive because my social media says I am.
A post to my Snapchat story: “Meetings all day! Busy, busy, busy!” *duckface* A comment on my friend’s post on my facebook wall: “omg just saw this, LOL. was running around all day!” A sarcastic tweet about wishing someone told you about how post-grad means not having time to do anything at all. An Instagram photo of a beautiful cup of a $6 latte and notebooks and pencils with a vague caption insinuating that you are writing the next great American novel. Every time I do this, I forget about the mean people in high school, my trash ex-boyfriend, literally anyone else. Every time I do this, it makes me feel better about my personal post-grad anxieties. Am I a loser because I work at a gym when I want to be writing for the New York Times? Does everyone think I am a failure because I am not working enough in my field because I have to make that good babysitting money? What if I don’t have enough things going on?
And I don’t think that any of this is bad, necessarily, but seeing everyone’s posts about their productivity does make me feel some type of way. Seeing my own posts make me feel some type of way. And I wish people, myself included, would maybe just... chill out for a second. And take a deep breath. And step away from your phones. And say to yourself: you only just graduated, a big accomplishment in itself. There is no need to feign a Pulitzer prize-winning life that you don’t have (yet!). It is normal, more normal than we think, in fact it is probably most common, to not be feeling like an Instagram fitness model who only drinks green things and is somehow always perfectly tanned post- grad. Let’s all be a little easier on ourselves (and each other) in this new chapter. No one’s grading us anymore.