Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

What does truthfulness mean on Instagram?

walking man on a hill in Italy

(Private photo: Emidio Asquino)

Blog |   12. Oct 2020

walking man on a hill in Italy

Emidio Asquino


A few days ago, I took the hard decision to improve my null dating experience in Denmark and finally downloaded Tinder. The first step, before being introduced to the awkward dynamics of online dating, is to pick the most attractive pictures to upload on your profile.

I immediately looked for mine on Instagram. Trying to understand what people might find interesting about me on social media, I analyzed my Instagram profile more objectively. I reached a pretty sad conclusion: my Instagram profile is boring!

How could I create an interesting Tinder profile, on which first impressions mean everything, when my Instagram profile basically screamed “look over there!”?

Most of my pictures are stolen shots; yet, it all looked staged: my smile looked fake, my captions looked fake, my body pose looked fake and, most importantly, every photo looked exactly the same.

In a moment of Aristotelian self-reflection, I asked myself one of the big questions that we all struggle with and we should never ask ourselves: what does “truthfulness” mean on Instagram?

Human beings, as social animals, have always felt the need to attract people. I will not dig any deeper into anthropology—my high-school philosophy teacher probably still thinks that I lack the knowledge for such an analysis.

Nevertheless, it is pretty obvious that, way before the rise of social networks, we have always filtered our nature to show people what we wanted them to see and attract them. What Instagram and other services did was to radicalize this social dynamic: in the world of social media, being desired is a synonym for being accepted.

We now have a direct platform on which we can show people all the assets at our disposal that can increase our social desirability and completely disregard those that reduce it. In order to look more fascinating to our followers, we only share moments that show us in a positive state of mind, as happiness is the tool to measure how charming someone can be.

When we show sadness, it is only done a posteriori—after the discomforting event has happened—so we can be admired for overcoming a difficult time. Due to this filtering process of our persona, the reality of social media does not correspond to the truth.

Instead, the world seen through the lenses of Instagram becomes a staging: we know it through fiction and in the form of fiction. We become the authors of our own play, in which we are both producers and consumers of digital content—a.k.a. prosumers.

The picture of a perfect muscled body reminds me of all the afternoons spent eating and watching Netflix on the sofa instead of working out

The anxiogenic result of this mechanism is that, every time we open our Instagram homepage and look at others’ posts, we are constantly reminded of the countless possible lives we could have had if we had made different decisions: the picture of a perfect muscled body reminds me of all the afternoons spent eating and watching Netflix on the sofa instead of working out; the picture of a person tanning at the beach reminds me of the travels I could have afforded if I had not dropped out of school; the stories of people drinking out remind me of how my nights would have been if I had chosen different friends; the pictures of the happy couple remind me of how lucky in love other people are.

Suddenly—unlike ours—the lives of the people we follow look so coherent and fulfilling, and the physical distance that originates from digital socialization makes this reality even more distorted. As a response, we tend to post more and more to keep on showing off, reproducing a never-ending circle of fascinating illusions.

However, after my post-modern nihilist analysis, there might be a soft light at the end of the tunnel: close friends’ stories. In the stories I post for my close friends I am more relaxed and none of the events I show is worth sharing, according to the popularity norms of Instagram.

I will make sure to upload on Tinder at least one picture where people can notice how truthfully big my nose is

Unconsciously, I do lower my masquerade and go against the desirability pattern. The close friends’ list represents the most inner circle of relationships—the word “close” itself lures one into a safe social bubble.

You might want to be desired by your acquaintances, but not your close friends; they are already attracted by you, otherwise they would not be close! Thus, with them you feel no need to show how much you are drinking on a weekend, how breathtaking the city you are visiting is and how lovely your partner is.

You just want to be you and share whatever is going through your mind without the feeling of being less attractive because of it.

At the end of the day, maybe it is not the right thing to ask yourself what is truthful on social media that allows you to grow dog ears and to look like a Bratz doll with the use of filters.

While I add this question to my personal list of unresolved big doubts, I will make sure to upload on Tinder at least one picture where people can notice how truthfully big my nose is.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What does truthfulness mean on Instagram?by

  • News

    Staff layoffs: What happens if you’re fired

    The clock is ticking. On Thursday morning (5 October), CBS employees will know if they are up for dismissal or not. But what will happen on the day? What emotional stages are you likely to encounter? And who will be there to pick you up when you are feeling the blow of being laid off? CBS WIRE has talked to HR and the consulting agency Actief Hartmanns to provide you with answers.

  • News

    Network, network, network – CBS graduates advise on getting your first job

    There are many approaches to finding your first job. Three recent CBS graduates talk about how they landed theirs. Their approaches were quite different, yet they all highlight networking as a key element.

  • News

    A-Z of the dismissals

    In these final days of September, the fate of a number of CBS employees is being decided. The final amount of money saved on salaries via voluntary severance agreements (aka redundancy packages, Ed.) and senior agreements will be known.  After this, the actual number of employees up for dismissal will be decided by management – and then the individuals will be selected.

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected