Bleed in Day to Day Social Media

We have seen many examples of how bleed affects actors and artists, but I have been thinking about how it affects our day to day lives. Over the last few years, there have been increasing movements against social media and its tendency to force people to construct false realities of themselves. On many social media platforms, their subcultures lead people to do one of two things: either you do ridiculous things ironically, or you capture the best parts of your life.

I believe both are dangerous because of person’s constructed social media can bleed into their personality. Someone may constantly seek to post their happiest selves on Instagram, look for the best moment of their day, or even worse, pretend there is one if you had an average day. Sometimes people extend this to their lives outside of social media and attempt to constantly show a version of themselves that they perceive as best. I should note that I speak from the bias of having nine sisters and seeing their true selves, how they act around others, and how they present themselves on social media.

This becomes extremely dangerous as people begin to live false realities, and convince themselves that their lives are/should be the best moment each time. This can lead people to bottle up their emotions, and push away “negative emotions” (a term I find unproductive) instead of healthily acknowledging them. Their social media selves have bled into their actual selves, and they see themselves as a profile that receives “likes” rather than a human being. Unfortunately, and maybe to the annoyance of the reader, I have a hard time finding facts to support this. These are potentially wrong observations that I see rise intertwined with the ubiquity of social media. Unfortunately, and maybe to the annoyance of the reader, I have a hard time finding facts to support this. These are potentially wrong observations that I see rise intertwined with the ubiquity of social media in friends, family, and after reflecting upon my younger self.

I would like to also note that I’m not claiming that social media is inherently bad. Rather, I believe there are developmental dangers with self-perception and bleed that have not been safely handled. In the world of acting, we have seen methods that are used to try to use bleed productively, or try to keep people safe from the negative parts of bleed. Younger and younger people use social media more and more and the reality is that it is becoming harder and harder for parents to control what their children are being exposed to. As a result, I think looking into how bleed is handled in artistic capacities can also serve as a good step towards finding how we can handle this rapid rise of social media and various ways to construct perceptions of yourself (the self-quantification movement, for example).

5 thoughts on “Bleed in Day to Day Social Media

  1. I’m also interested in the personas that people adopt on social media, and how these are sometimes based on the personas of successful influencers. I’m thinking about YouTube and vlogs in particular because my 11-year-old sister and her friends have all started vlogging. My sister makes baking videos. In these videos, she seems to change her mannerisms and way of speaking so that it matches the other successful YouTube bakers that she admires. For instance, she uses the phrase “rainbow magic” for sprinkles in her videos, which is a phrase that another YouTube baker says, and something my sister never says in daily life. It’s weird to think that my sister is performing a self that is based on other successful vloggers, especially in the context of bleed.


  2. I think the interesting unconsidered effect of social media is that despite being a part of a digital native generation, I don’t get the sense that we’re a fully social media native generation. That though social media sites like Myspace, AOL chatrooms, and forums existed, we experienced a gradual adoption to the dominate triumvirate of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sometime in middle school, while the grades just below us had a pressure to join even in elementary school, so the full harm may not have yet been helped. An interesting counterbalance to the supposed fragility created by social media is how video games have been seen as having the opposite effect. NYU Psychologist Jonathan Haidt ( 7:30) has analyzed that boys see the ill-effects of social media less due to a greater proportion of gamers. Haidt analyzes that developed within the constant struggle, disappointment, and excitement of video games in a challenging meritocratic environment like Call of Duty or League of Legends, gamers develop an anti-fragility to things invading the carefully crafted lens of social media. Being a virtual soldier may not bleed out a Navy Seal, but there is a chance it does bleed out a ruggedness in the face of adversity social media seems to be washing away.


  3. I’ve definitely seen examples of “performance” as different versions of the self being used in social media, and have often heard it discussed in to context of what it allows others to see–only a perfectly curated performance and not what lies underneath. I think it’s interesting to look at it in terms of bleed and examine how, the more involved and immersed one is in that “perfect” surface image, it attempts to erase away the rest of it. I also think the bleed aspect is especially interesting in the way that in a roleplaying game, bleed comes about through proximity or feeling with a character the player is inhabiting–it is about the blurring of the boundaries between the two, but that blurring is framed by the fact that those boundaries do exist. In social media, on the other hand, the boundaries are a lot less clear as what you are performing is, ostensibly, you, too. Much as in some ARGs, where you are playing yourself except a you who believes in the world of the game, in social media you are playing yourself except…only the prettiest parts of yourself? The parts you want the world to see?


  4. This reminds me of the concept of parasocial relationships, the one-sided relationships that frequently emerge on social media in which we feel like we know someone personally despite only knowing their social media performance. There’s been a lot of interesting discussion about this on YouTube lately (just YouTube search the word “parasocial” and you’ll find some worthwhile video essays), but I want to link to one video I saw recently that I think addresses the idea of bleed in this context in a really interesting (and somewhat more hopeful) way: He essentially argues for a truth in performance that can allow social media performances and relationships to be genuine and meaningful, while acknowledging some of the potentially harmful consequences.


  5. I agree with you here – social media definitely has altered people’s lives and activities. Gone are the days where people do cool things and do not post on social media or even sometimes will do certain activities with the intention of doing it in order to put it on social media. People care what others think virtually more often than in person and I think that this is definitely a form a bleed in that your virtual persona can shape your actual one.


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