Thursday, February 5, 2015

Filtering Your Life

5:47 AM

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#VSCOCam, flat lay, normcore, aesthetic—here are some words that barely existed a few years ago, but are now commonly used in daily conversation. With the creation of Instagram and other social networking platforms, our virtual identities have stepped up into a whole new level of personal brand management—and that is our feeds, timelines, walls, grids.

There are those who curate their posts, and there are those who rather won’t, and for every active social networker there’s got to be a way to measure all the pre-posting bonanza—on a scale from Amaro to Chrome, how far do you filter your life? Can it be considered art or is it just a trend? Is it something we should criticize or encourage?

We here on The Thing want to find out if there’s really anything wrong with either side of the scale. So before you share that #sunnies #selfie on IG, or before you judge that girl with the spotless white blankets, have a peek at our chat with a bunch of Thingamabobs and see if you fall anywhere in the Filter Spectrum and what that might mean.


Mark, film student
Meg, psychology student and blogger
Belle, writer
Clarisse, blogger

Newuser7580: hello friends?

Mark: Hello

Arielle: YESSS

Mark: *clap clap clap*

Gaby: Hi! Hmm I guess we could start even if Chili and the others aren’t here yet.

Arielle: yup let’s do that!

Mark: sure thing

Arielle: so okay cool hey mark!!! Lets start with the first question

Mark: mhmm

Arielle: what was the most ridiculous thing (that you’re willing to share of course) that you did just for an Instagram post / tweet / blog / video / anything facebook related?

Mark: hmmmmm
Mark: I got bamboo to do a fansign for my friends
Mark: then I put it on Instagram and linked them lol
Mark: I think I went to a party once just so I could have a new profile picture

Arielle: s a m e

Mark: and like you try not to look bad throughout the party just in case HAHAHA

Arielle: yeah omg I wear make up to a party sometimes just cause I know there will be PIX opportunities haha

Arielle: next, do you filter the thing the things that go onto your social media pages? I’m sure we all do but what are the things you mainly try to avoid posting? For me, I honestly don’t like putting up family photos / photos taken by family members. Idk when I see them tag me I cry inside HAHA

Mark: I have like, no evidence of drinking/vices anywhere on facebook HAHA
Mark: I made sure anything I get tagged in has to pass through me before it can get posted

Arielle: TRUE

Mark: my parents and some relatives are on facebook and before I started doing this, there would be “confrontations”
Mark: and I really really wanna unfriend them but I might hurt their feelings ughhhh
Mark: and I’m too tamad to make a whole new account just for friends and hassle eh

Arielle: ohhh I see!!! Well how about other places like Instagram, twitter, tumblr etc?

Mark: twitter is like, the one place I’m unrestrained haha
Mark: only friends follow me there
Mark: kinda on Instagram too, but the pictures I post are usually landscape photography things so not many implications there haha
Mark: tumblr, I rarely use lol

Arielle: does your self image/ how you appear to others affect the kind of things you say on twitter or the stuff you post on Instagram? For me, I try to sound well, funny as much as possible on twitter

Gaby: Arielle, I’m adding other people to the chat!! 

Arielle: I try to post artsy Instagram photos as well cause I don’t want people to think I’m “basic” (lol sorry)

Mark: depends on mood, I guess? Generally I try to sound happier or only talk about relatable things but when I’m sad or angry at sometimes I don’t filter it too much
Mark: that’s ok HAHA

Arielle: ohhhh I see!!

Gaby: I don’t have VSCO on my phone, so there was a time when I would have to email photos from my phone to myself just to be able to edit my photos “properly" on the iPad HAHA

Mark: wow HAHA
Mark: I used to have VSCO, but I never never used it
Mark: I just got used to the really basic settings on Instagram lol


Mark: amazing HAHAHA

Gaby: I think it was because someone told me that the pre-set Instagram filters were gross or something

Mark: tbh I probs would if I had a dslr

Gaby: I think a lot of people do that, Arielle! HAHA
Gaby: Hi Clarisse!

Arielle: mark, I know you create music, but why do you post your creative output on social media? For me, (aside from the fact that I want to get noticed as a photographer etc) its because I want to gauge how far I’ve come HAHA and the kind of things people like to see based on likes

Mark: I’d say it’s the self promotion. Being successful means getting your name out there. If they don’t know you, then you’re pretty much invisible no matter how good what you create is.

Arielle: agreed!!! How vout you Clarisse, do you ever post creative output on social media sites? If you do, why?

Clarisse: I have to strongly agree on that ^^ In my perspective, its not just merely marketing yourself, or plainly getting yourself out there, you must get their attention, keep them coming and recall your brand which one must continually work on. Its getting your work to have that consistent quality and at then same time, you are not just only making an online portfolio but you encourage interaction with your audience.

Arielle: oh yeah that’s so true!!!!

Clarisse: I do, and I find it very helpful especially receiving valuable critique from new readers and constant readers alike.

Mark: agree 100%

Arielle: but do you guys think that

Belle: Hello!! Sorry, just got added now. What have I missed? O.o (Hi, I’m Belle BTW.)

Gaby: For those who just joined, these are the questions we’ve discussed so far: 1) what was the most ridiculous thing (that you’re willing to share, of course) that you've done just for an Instagram post / tweet / blog / video / anything facebook related?, 2) do you filter the things that go onto your social media pages? I’m sure we all do but what are the things you mainly try to avoid posting?, 3) does your self image / how you appear to other affect the kind of things you say on twitter or the stuff you post on Instagram?

Arielle: oh belle
Arielle: yeah that haha^


Meg: that’s a lot of stuff okay hello hehe

Arielle: HEY GURK
Arielle: omf GURL

Belle:  UHHH. I’m super no filter on everything except Instagram.
Belle: But I guess super no-no is porn. Like why would u even want to share that though?

Mark: some people are reallllly weird tho

Clarisse: Me, I think if an image, quote or status builds the brand and still does not strip the sincerity and realness of it based on how I would want to see it, I’d post it. 

Meg: My twitter is pretty much where I speak my mind bc I don’t talk enough in person, and I share pretty much every link on fb. I don’t think I’ve done anything /that/ ridiculous, I guess? I just try not to curse on social media platforms.

Belle: TRU. I guess the craziest I go is with my somewhat niche-y posts (i.e. weird Japanese stuff) on Facebook. But like I buffer it with ~cool~ stuff.

Mark: have to attain balance lol

Belle: What’s super hassle now is, for example when applying for work, they do have people who stalk you on social media. IDK if that’s been mentioned earlier.

Clarisse: Yeah, cursing, and most probably ranting about things that I myself don’t know much on. Someone will just shoot you you from behind or hate, or worse, print screen whatever they think feels foul

Meg: I think the only place where I really don’t filter myself is on tumblr but seriously, who filters themselves on tumblr?

Gaby: do you guys aim for a certain aesthetic when posting stuff? As in, is there a need for your /feed/ to look a certain way?

Belle: AHH. Yes. Definitely. Like ordered chaos.

Arielle: do you guys think that a person’s online persona helps in the kind of creative work they publish? For example someone who’s a musician will post something that’ll assert their “brand” more?

Meg: on Instagram, yes. Sometimes I look back at my old posts and I ask myself if I should delete it because it’s just not what I wanna see on my profile.

Clarisse: Yes, as I mentioned, a certain style, without stripping quality and sincerity.

Mark: I don’t really curate my posts so much anymore haha maybe it’s a mark of laziness, idk

Gaby: ^connecting to what Meg said, have you ever deleted old photos because they don’t mesh with your current style?

Mark: I actually like keeping the really embarrassing early high school pics around they’re always great fun

Meg: I’ve only deleted REALLY old pictures that weren’t noticed anyway (but I know they’re still on my mum’s ipad haha!)

Arielle: I’ve probably deleted a couple of those early 2000s type selfies because to be quite honest they’re really embarrassing HAHA

Meg: i think that it does help to build your brand. =)))

Mark: i think it also depends if you're really "acting" under a brand, or if it's you yourself you're trying to promote
Mark: it's easier to run a fan page about something because then it can really be clear and about that thing
Mark: but if it's a page about you, then you have to sort of pick which parts of you to show
Mark: if you wanna advance ur thingy

Meg: ^yes, yes! agreed.
Meg: do you just want people to think that this is how you really are (i mean, some of it has to be true, right?) or are you showing your ~true self~

Belle: Sometimes the brand is correlated to personality. It's what makes the person different when s/he is in a field with so many other talents

Gaby: Hmm what do you guys think about the trend where people post ~artsty~ photos of cacti/their legs/shoes/ books/etc. on white bed spreads?

Meg: personally, i find the pictures pretty but i don't need to see 10 people posting the same stuff on my feed.

Gaby: You know, like if lots of people do that, how can you tell whether they are showing their ~true selves~

Belle: Hotdogs vs legs, tbh.

Mark: I mean, nothing wrong with a lil production design, but i guess there is a line somewhere

Belle: But I'm super guilty of tailoring my shots for product placement on Instagram

Gaby: So how do you know that they've crossed the line?

Mark: hmm

Meg: if whatever they put on those white bed spreads are actually things that mean something to them or show their real personality

Arielle: sometimes i dont think they cross a line per se

Mark: yeah maybe "line" isnt the best word

Meg: and maybe we'll never know what

Belle: With ~showing our true personality~ we'll never know. And that's what social media culture is, IMO. It's both beautiful and problematic how we can choose to recreate ourselves.
Belle: I wrote about it once how people in this day and age have to feed two bodies to sustain themselves. One being their actual biological selves, and the other being their virtual self.

Arielle: true!! a lot of people are really influenced by popularity etc and sometimes people find that these are things they're really interested in

Clarisse: ^^ I agree. It takes effort to look effortless haha
Clarisse: Some just really go with the flow, which is okay, but to the extent that they flaunt it online endlessly and without genuinely caring for the essence of whatever the trends are quite alarming.

Arielle: true! flat lay / minimalist type things will eventually run its course I think haha

Gaby: Okay this conversation ended up a lot longer than we thought it would. Thank you for joining us, everyone!


Got anything to say about what we discussed? How far do YOU filter your life? Sound off in the comments below!

Intro by Chili
Art by Ches

Chili was into Twilight before. If she isn’t erasing any trace of her Twilight phase off the face of the earth, she’s trying to convince her mom to give her a cat. In the meantime, follow her on Twitter (@theroyalspice) as she crawls her way out of Econ, a drink in hand. Still, #noragrets.

Ches is a human being who loves making mixed-media and collage art. She enjoys collecting small things, listening to sad and fuzzy music, making a mess, eating spicy Japanese food, and thinking about everything. You can find her on Twitter (@psychedelicward) and in booksales/local gigs near you.


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