As a soon to be university graduate, there is an obsessiveness around me and my colleagues to graduate with accomplishments in hand—a “serious-ish” partner or a full-time job waiting for us. It’s a way to boast, that look, after these four transformative years away, I have something to show. Luckily my generation has become more inventive if these don’t come naturally (which they often don’t), and we’ve got an array of internet tools to help us focus in, just before it’s too late.
The implementation of technology in the middle of all of our essential relationships has given us some interesting results, ranging from ridiculous love stories, scary pathways for new types of crime, and just about everything in between. And it’s this strange in between that is on the rise everywhere around us.
One of the possibly weirder trends to come out of the digitisation of the tools for our wildest dreams steams from the unanticipated (and unintended) use of these applications. As Tinder and Linkedin age, the tools these platforms offer are becoming more intersected with other needs. People are getting dates off of job websites, and finding job references and job opportunities off of dating apps. In a world which is becoming increasingly competitive within the job market, the incoming workforce is constantly looking at ways to differentiate themselves when searching—whether that be in job or boyfriend hunting.
A quick Google will bring you to an array of blog posts written by recruiters and the shortage of talent that seems to be growing. One of the main alternatives is suggesting recruiters use alternate channels that aren’t as saturated, like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. You reverse the Google search, and you similarly find a large group of people, tweeting and writing about the competitiveness of dating applications, and the love stories that sprung from a simple LinkedIn message. “I used LinkedIn as a dating site for two months. If you’re into having some dirty fun with partnered professionals and are willing to play the long game, LinkedIn is your next great dating app. You can find an affair AND the possibility of a better gig.” Wrote Sarah Miller in The Bold Italic. Adding that LinkedIn profile pictures are almost always a “clear shot of someone’s face”, unlike the usual blurred, group pictures you’ll find on dating apps. And she has a point.
We are continuously learning to connect in different ways, so it’s not surprising that original business strategies for these apps are being muddled. The parallels and similarities between dating apps and networking apps are clear, and moving forward, the structures of the two will most likely becoming more intertwined. Location-based, resume flaunting, and interest sharing are both commonalities in these different worlds; both making it easier for you to find whatever it is you’re looking for. These applications are taking notice of their similarities of course, with applications such as Bumble creating Bumble Bizz, a networking tool.
The basic components of our everyday lives have slowly become more and more digitised. Food, sleep, our homes, our relationships and our jobs. Some more than others have innovated at an incredible pace. Our food channels are completely globalised and commanded at the touch of a button. We can now track our sleeping patterns, and connect almost any and every component of our homes to remotely controllable software. Arguably though, our love lives, and work lives have been most impacted, because each new technological advancement in these field appeals to our deepest desires: love and success.
Once again, the internet and all its many tools have created different paths for us to meet, lurk and interact with people around the world. Tinder, Bumble, LinkedIn—whatever the platform, it creates a (questionably) safe space for us to create our versions of success. Who cares if we can’t keep ourselves from mixing work and pleasure, as long as it works right?
A new hashtag has popped up in our timelines, and of course, you guessed it, Screen Shot can’t help but dissect it. The hashtag #Instagramtransparency is being used under posts that show a different side to the dreamy beaches, toned abs, sponsored products, and #couplegoals we see across our explore pages.
This new trend is about showing the downs as well as the ups in our lives across the social media channel, and to start an honest conversation about our less glamourous lives off screen. Whether that’s talking about mental health, the reality behind landing some cool jobs for Nike or Adidas, as well as the things ‘no body sees’. #Instagramtransparency is the embodiment of trying to show that what you see on Instagram is not completely genuine—something we all know by now, yet often struggle to digest when the success of others is thrown in our face on an hourly basis.
At the moment, the hashtag has 656 posts after @toriwest sparked the movement earlier this month, with freelancers like @sararradin sharing their thoughts on the subject. The contents across the hashtag don’t all follow one aesthetic, but all sport a confessional description of people’s struggles. In a world where teenagers can’t remember their lives before documenting every social gathering, and where millennials have been able to create jobs from social media, Instagram is essential. We can joke about memes, we can even kid about how much we all wake up to an algorithm but over 1 billion of us log into the app and share much of our lives with strangers, who most of the time believe they know us by what we give them.
The idea behind #Instragramtransparency is to start a conversation beyond the optics—to talk about the hustle and the struggle that lays behind each glistening post. But what happens if even what we’re sharing under the transparency ethos isn’t the whole truth either? Validating #Instagramtransparency also comes into the equation here. To play the devil’s advocate, Instagram has shown us, and through this hashtag too, that the platform equals to a form of scripted reality, so what is it that we’re trying to show through this woke hashtag and how exactly is it a step away from a curated feed?
Regardless of the message you are trying to share through #Instagramtransparency, there’s a reason why influencers are starting to use it. The hashtag humanises the people behind accounts and makes the experience relatable—it’s a way of showing the other side of the story. But I question the smokes and mirrors the hashtag comes with. What feels like a great intention to display authenticity also seems tainted with what Instagram is continuously obsessed with: self-promotion and marketing.
How do we show authenticity to a following that forgets even our username from time to time? Authenticity itself seems to have become marketing jargon when in reality, by definition, it is the opposite of complexity, it is to simply be yourself without filtering the content you post to connect with a certain demographic or awareness trend that month. #Instagramtransparency is a great way to start talking about what happens behind closed doors but we also need to check why we’re now speaking out about the topics we ourselves have biasedly chosen to hide in the first place.
#Instagramtransparency appears to be a way of whitewashing the pretty locations with deeper meaning, but if we are trying to have a go at how fake we can all be sometimes, we also need to step away from sharing only what’s palatable first. If we’re trying to show the plethora of journeys people have to go through to get to where they are and to what they have, it needs to be by a wide host of people, not just influencers. If not, the conversation on Instagram isn’t moving forward, it’s just at standstill.