Jade Lam, on the other hand, does care about her image on social media. The beauty blogger has more than 65,000 followers on Instagram. Scrolling through her page, you will see Lam’s numerous selfies showing her choices of clothing and make-up, along with snippets of her daily life.
Lam, together with her friend, produces videos for their own YouTube beauty channel, ArmourBeauty JM, to offer advice on make-up techniques. After the channel became popular, Lam noticed more and more people following her status updates, and she responded positively. “I think my life is indeed colourful, so I don’t mind sharing with others. I like doing it.”
But Lam does not just share anything, she often strives to choose the right pictures to upload. She wants to share her happy moments and avoids sharing the unhappy ones. Meanwhile, she also uses apps like BeautyCam to enhance her photos. She thinks a prettier photo will give strangers a better first impression of her, especially when she is posting selfies on a platform where most visitors are strangers.
“These apps can produce better photos, as your skin will be whiter, your eyes will be bigger, and your face thinner,” Lam explains, “Everyone should be very happy to see a prettier self in their photos.”
Yet, no matter how Lam wants to share happiness online, her selfies are inevitably subject to scrutiny by the public. Some people question her age and criticise her make-up; some even speculate about whether she has had plastic surgery.
Lam realises she cannot please everyone, but admits she was once troubled by the critical comments. In particular, she feels upset when people discuss her age online. “I don’t like others talking about my age. I don’t want others judging me from head to toe because of it,” Lam says.“Nobody would like to be judged in this way.”
With people trying to show the best sides of themselves through their selfies, perhaps it is natural for people to expect praise instead of criticism. Professor Louis Leung Wing-ci, of the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, says people always present their ideal image in order to be recognised and included in social circles. Leung believes the do-it-yourself (DIY) element of selfie-taking allows people to take the image they want other people to see.