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Ingrid Goes West: When Social Media Crosses the Line

In the age of technology, social media apps can be a fun way to connect with friends and pass time.
However, social media has an addicting aspect to it, and what happens when it goes too far?

Matt Spicer’s new film, Ingrid Goes West, follows the story of Ingrid Thorburn, played by Aubrey Plaza, who becomes obsessed with a social media star. She has such an obsession with Taylor Sloan, played by Elizabeth Olson, that she moves out West to find her and become her friend.The film was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2017.

This film exposes the damaging effects social media can have on women, while at the same time acknowledging why social media stars exist.

In a question-and-answer after the premier, Spicer stated, “The film was kind of our way of working out our complex feelings about social media.”

The dark yet comical film is truly eye-opening. It emphasizes how social media has had a very strong impact on its users. There is an influence to live a certain way and to idolize them, because their lives, as portrayed by social media, seem to be nothing short of perfect.

Although it can be difficult, there must be some sort of balance when it comes to the use of technology and social media. As the film portrays, the behavior that it can bring out can be disturbing and very unhealthy.

Social media has a way of manipulating reality and creating damaging illusions.

As seen in the film, the famous star, Taylor, creates a façade for everyone to view online that is different from her real life. This is problematic, because oftentimes users find themselves comparing their appearances or lives to the ones that they see published online.

While discussing social media and Instagram in an interview with Jason Gorber, Spicer admitted, “I think people should think more about maybe why they’re putting these things online. I wish I were a little bit braver to share a little bit more of my honest self on social media. I admire people who can be real on social media and it’s weird that it’s a challenge to be real.”

Not all social media use is bad, but there must be an understanding and knowledge of the influence that it can have, and of when this influence becomes problematic.  

Plaza also did an interview with Gorber. When asked what she would want to say to young women, she replied, “Focus on your authentic self and have that be the reason for connections, because social media can be a distraction.”

Staying true to yourself and limiting your social media use can be difficult, and Ingrid Goes West portrays that perfectly. However, it is absolutely possible.

This film brought up some scary realizations, but at the end of the day, each and every person has the power over social media, not vice versa.

Featured Image by Kristin Dos Santos on  Flickr
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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