Sustainability POVs

Visual Diet

Written by: Diana Gabriela Rodriguez Abisad 

Visual Diet: You are what you see, so choose well. 

In a world where Digital is taking all over the place and people are getting more visual than ever, social media and images are playing a crucial role in our day to day life — in fact, as I’m writing these first lines, I must confess I have used my Instagram App more than once. If we are what we see, what would we be?  

As British artist, Adelaide Damoah, opened the stage with a ten minutes painting  performance that made me uncomfortable enough to bring myself into the topic, I started thinking about social norms roles in our life and how typically we compare ourselves with others even in our digital life. 

‘Visual Diet: We are what we see. Exploring the Relationship between Imagery & Mental Health’ panel guided by Matt Cooper and with Mimi Gray, Head of Visual Content at M&C Saatchi, portrait and fashion photographer Rankin Waddell and Jude Kelly, WOW founder (Women of the World Festival) explored a topic society  needs to rethink as social media is becoming the first and last thing we do everyday 

So, how do our social media diet and daily visual content affect our mental health? According to these three experts, rates of anxiety and depression in young people have risen 70% in the past 25 years, as well as social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. On the contrary, there was found an 84% increase in wellbeing when people were surrounded by meaningful visual content in their daily environment. 

From phone addiction to super edited photography and Instagram’s perfect expectations on photos, the panel talked about how there’s a huge amount of visual information that we take away and the impact of capturing it that affects you in subliminal messages. 

As mobile and generational usage is growing rapidly, making a better world for everyone should include digital life. As Jude Kelly explained “just as humans have been learning how to relate with alcohol even though it could be addictive, we should do the same with social media… as individuals, we have the responsibility to control all this” and I couldn’t agree more. 

Our social media diet affects our mental health and our self belief. You are what you see, so we, as a society we need care for one another. Time has learned us  of the consequences social media has had on mental health and brands and influencers and need to rethink the potential consequences of their output to consumers.