In 2010, Instagram was a new phenomenon. The app arrived shiny and novel on our screens, complete with glitches and ill-thought out captions. Posting was casual, something we rarely spared a thought towards. By all pretences, the Internet at the time was a vacuum for our thoughts and emotions, not yet a highlight reel or resume of our personal accomplishments and career milestones. But in the space of a few years, social media hasn’t just transformed to become a magnate for influencers and those of us not tirelessly working to curate our lives into neatly packaged and easily consumed material, for many it’s now become as integral to their identity as those connections in the real world.
Not surprisingly, in recent years there has been a spike in mental health issues and growing struggles over just how much of our lives we present on social media. We now even have terms to describe the struggle the struggle that is FOMO (fear of missing out), an acute punch to the guts anytime we find ourselves alone, sunk deep into the cushions of the couch, scrolling through endless snaps of those gallivanting in Europe or at those parties we can never get into.
Speaking about the effects of social media on society, actor Timothee Chalamet expressed the feeling of being “intensely judged” to the pressure placed on us as users of such social media platforms. “To be young now, and to be young whenever – I can only speak for my generation – is to be intensely judged,” he said during a Venice Film Festival press conference.
In his latest flick, Bones and All, Chalamet plays a character from the 1980s – a time before social media came to engulf our lives. Chalamet said it was a “relief to play characters” who grew up in a time long before platforms like Instagram and TikTok existed.
“I can’t imagine what it is to grow up without the onslaught of social media,” said the 26-year-old. “And it was a relief to play characters who are wrestling with an internal dilemma absent the ability to go on Reddit or Twitter, Instagram or TikTok and figure out where they fit in.”
For Chalamet, our dependence on social media may lead to what he considers a “societal collapse.” “Without casting judgement on that, you can find your tribe there, but I think it’s tough to be alive now,” he said.
Bones and All is set to hit theatres on November 23 and sees Chalamet star alongside Taylor Russell as two cannibalistic lovers who “join together for a thousand-mile odyssey, which takes them through the back roads, hidden passages and trap doors of Ronald Reagan’s America.” At the recent Venice Film Festival, the film received a 10-minute standing ovation.