Internet Stuntin' 1- MATERIALISM ("Keeping Up With the Jonses")

We've seen it all before on the luxurious life of Instagrammers, Tweeters, Facebookers, and other social media users: the Louis Vuitton shoes, the thick wads of money, the Neiman's purchased clothes, the fancy vacations, etc. It seems like a necessity to take to Instagram once a purchase of a luxury item has been made, but why? We live in a day and age where for many of us it's a must to prove to followers, friends, associates, exes, old high school enemies, family, and other watchers that "we got it goin' on", "we're happy" and "we got it all together". Unfortunately, and not so sorry to burst any of our bubbles, but that's not so true for many of us social media users. In this first series of "Internet Stuntin'", I want to discuss the issue of materialism.

First off, there's NOTHING wrong with having luxury, high end brand items or living a lifestyle where you can travel to the most exotic islands, purchase a new car every few years, or pop bottles of Moet every weekend, if you can genuinely afford it. The problem is not these luxury items, it's the way they're used on social media sites and the fact that some people cannot afford these items, but purchase them just to "stunt". The problem is the illegal activity some people participate in in order to obtain these symbols of "wealth". The problem is when some of us have been indoctrinated into thinking the cost of our clothes, the brand of our car, and the size of our homes equate to how much we value as human beings. Some of us have to go out our way to make sure you see that Mercedes logo on the car while occasionally snapping a photo of a Starbuck's mocha frappe, the Gucci print on that belt, and the supposedly "random" $300 price tag still left on the North Face jacket. We have to let you know what our income is lookin' like. We have to be validated through name brand everything.

Photo Credit: Stop Materialism Twitter

It's also important to note that everyone who posts their fancy cars and clothes online is definitely not fraudulent. There are folks who work and can sincerely afford what they purchase. Also, posting certain items does not correlate with a need for validation from peers, we must discern the difference between the two. One person may be a sneaker collector and post the latest Nikes for the sake of admiring the design and comfort of the shoe, not so much as an attempt to shit on the next person. Yet, we have to be honest about the "Keeping Up With the Jonses" fantasy that some of us are living in in regards to an attempt to send a subliminal message to fellow Instagrammers and Facebookers that everything's okay, and "money ain't a thang", when many times it just isn't okay and money is a thang. I always felt that if you have to go out your way to very obviously, and continuously prove you "gettin' money", many times it's not the truth. We've also seen these shenanigans from famous people, showing that even in Hollywood and the entertainment business, even when you think someone is drowning in riches, sometimes it's just smoke and mirrors.

Social media gives us a chance to copy and paste, crop and edit our lives into perfection or an image close to it. In my opinion, I feel it's making some of us extremely shallow in regards to receiving praise from others, the number of likes on photos, and/or in this discussion of materialism, the need to show how much we're "ballin'". Many people are being liked, not because of their personalities, but what material objects they have via the trophy showroom called social media. I'll even go out on a limb and say that this age of social media is slowly, metaphorically killing some of us internally. Whether it's killing our self esteemwallets, or integrity, it's got many of us fiending for attention, validation, and acceptance from peers. We're itching to prove to people we once attended school with back in the day that we're all grown up now and it's all the good. The typical high school reunion brag session where former competition and that "guy-that-we-had-a-crush-on-but-never-gave-us-a-chance", are made to quiver by our run down of accomplishments and trophies we've collected over the years...except this time, it's on the world wide web.

Images are powerful, and the ability of being able to see where others are, what others have purchased and what they are doing at any time of the day has increased comparisons between one another. We can't control what other people post, and it's not our duty too. Other people have a right to post what they feel whether we agree with it or not, but we should have more honest discussions on how the images we're consuming via social media are effecting us as a society and how it will impact human interaction and relationships in the future. We should have discussions on our need for validation and attention through like buttons and the rise of the narcissistic, self-absorbed personality.

The reality of this "Keeping Up With the Jonses" mentality that has taken over social media is that the Jonses have the same amount of problems as you and I (as ALL humans on this earth have problems). The Jonses are in debt out the ass and their lights are off. Stop looking behind your neighbor's symbolic white picket fence at the very forced image of "perfection" because you don't know what's actually going on inside. Don't go into debt spending unwisely, don't involve yourself in illegal activity to "do it for the 'gram" only to appear like you have money. What do you gain from these actions besides an ego boost? "Likes" don't transform into dollars and your social media "friends" and followers probably aren't going to post your bail or give you a loan when you get arrested and/or are going through financial hardships. As a matter of fact, stop allowing social media to control you and your self esteem through seeing what other people have or what they want you to think they have. Life is not a competition and what material objects you have never has, does not, and never will be equal to your worth, nor will they make you whole. Prioritizing, not living above your means, and wise spending is key to financial health.

Media Images, Materialism, and What Ought to Be the Role of Social Comparison:



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