It used to be mainly commercials that made us feel incomplete–dangling something seemingly essential just beyond our reach. Now, in addition to traditional ads, social media inundates us with lifestyle advertising from our friends, who insidiously insist on showing off the good times, at all times. Of course, those good times may not actually be as good as they look.
A new short film called What’s On Your Mind? illuminates some of the problems with being hyper-aware of what your friends are up to. Taking its name from the question at the heart of the status update field on Facebook, the film begins with a man comparing the forever-unfurling highlight reel on his computer screen to the comparatively drab confines of a night in with his girlfriend. Everything he sees devalues his reality, eventually driving him to just make some shit up in order to seem less lame–to himself, as well as to anyone who might be paying attention. He is validated in return, with a substantial number of “likes.” From here on, the differences between what’s actually happening and “what’s on your mind?” begin snowballing, in ways that range from subtle lies to wholesale fabrications.
YouTube filmmakers The Higton Bros have made a video that gets to the core of our nagging itch to keep up with everyone else. Unlike the pain-points traditional advertising introduces, the ones that social media bring to light have no easily purchasable solution attached to them.