Facebook continues to grow rapidly. What started as a relatively simple means of communication has morphed into a gigantic file sharing platform. It is not enough these days to simply communicate by text. Having to write held many people back. Great artists and photographers are absorbed in their field of work, and express themselves in means not requiring many words. The advent of photo sharing and more recently the explosion of video and file sharing, has elevated Facebook into a whole new realm of communication.
In the past, it was easy to hide behind a ‘persona’, or mask, while typing away in disguise. Today, it is impossible to have an adequate profile without some photos and links – interrupted by ongoing video posts of whatever ‘friends’ are getting up to. The new trend of absolute internet exposure has led to some novel means of propaganda and self promotion. It has also alienated some internet users, who don’t feel as comfortable in front of a camera. Many young (and older) people will go to great lengths to put their best face forward when logged on to a networking site. In some cases, this has led to wanting to alter facial features, even going under the knife.
An increasing amount of young adults are looking into cosmetic surgery. They want their profile picture to look perfect. Every month, more and more customers are undergoing wrinkle or facelift procedures so they can look more attractive online.
According to Dr Chiranjiv Chabra, a professional dermatologist:
“A better profile picture goes a long way in projecting a good image because online presence is for multiple purposes – from dating and marriage proposals to professional networking.”
It seems our face is under more scrutiny than ever before. Young people are wanting to eradicate anything they perceive as having an imperfection: jawline, lips, birthmarks, wrinkles, and scars. Although dermatologists are understanding, some psychologists are disturbed. Being judged on an online picture can be emotionally unsettling and even damaging. The superficial desire for online appreciation can lead to a negative spiral. It even happens on Facebook that some users become depressed when not getting enough ‘likes’.
For one customer, uploading photographs had always been off-limits, due to forehead scar, which she had always been conscious of. After undergoing a laser procedure for scar removal, things changed. She finally posted some pictures of herself, and received positive feedback. She could have photo-shopped her images, but never considered it a substitute for the cosmetic procedure. The cosmetic procedure has made her comfortable to reveal herself, and surely it is a first step toward genuine social networking amongst friends.
Desiring an improved appearance is natural. A lot of time is spent online and not all of it is invisible. And if those faces in boxes really are our ‘friends’ than it could well be a good idea to look our best. Not only that, but much of our information is used across platforms. Prospective employers can be guided to a personal web site which displays us at our best, and how we want to be perceived. There is no harm in wanting to look good online. Much socialisation is done online. Clinics specialising in wrinkle removal and laser hair removal can give your profile an edge. A good profile may even lead to future employment or artistic options.