Modern Aestheticism on Social Media

In our ASTU100A class, one topic that continually comes back to the forefront of my thinking is that of social media and the portrayal of individuals on social media. A common theme that occurs is the creation of profiles and feeds where they represent ourselves in such a way that is more indicative of what we aren’t rather than what we actually are. In this blog post, I’m going to look at the idea of a “aesthetic” and how it relates to an individual’s own life narrative.

On social media networking site such as Instagram or Twitter, a common theme  is that of an “aesthetic”. An aesthetic in everyday vernacular is a particular set of principles guiding the work of an individual or group, but only recently has been attributed to internet culture a slang meaning a form of acknowledgement on the common themes of one’s profile or page. An example of this can be a minimalist feed where little is posted, or one where posts about one’s life revolves not on what they see, but what they take part in.This can be linked to the creation of many Instagram accounts about certain topics, such as fitness, fashion and sports oriented sites which still highlight the individual, but have a focus on a certain aspect of the individual’s life. If an aesthetic by definition is to curate an guide a form of work, does that make those who focus on a certain topic in their lives artists demonstrating their craft?  In essence, many individuals treat their feeds as a piece of art, and carefully curate it to satisfy not only what they want it to be, but to how they wish to be perceived according to other people, which in some cases can be maladaptive.

To many this slang will pass over their heads but to a younger demographic this term is passed around often. We often define ourselves by our “aesthetic” directly linking the way we view ourselves to how others judge us, this has been found throughout human history. However, this term signifies the direct change of how we represent ourselves and our stories online to make them more of either an art form or how we wish to be perceived. This slang is fairly recent, so it was fairly difficult to find research and news articles related to it online, however in the future this might not only be a excellent topic for a research paper, but could be applicable to other disciplines such as marketing and sociology. This change of life stories to fit others and our own preferences in a way speaks not only to what we are, but what we want the most. Everyone wants an idealistic life and the changing and modifying of one’s life narrative to be more of what they wish rather than what it is, is possible with social media and the idea of aestheticism today.


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