Internet vs Reality
A Disappointing Real life?
Today I came across two images of the same house. The first image was bright and clean, and boasted a large, smooth driveway surrounded by perfect trees. The second image was dull, and grey, and showed a completely different house, with a different driveway.
It was a perfect example of internet vs reality – a heavily photoshopped image which was far from the reality of the situation.
The digital world has created a set of unique problems for us as the technology improves daily. How do we tell the real from the fake? The technology is now so advanced that photoshop is completely invisible to the unknowing. Here, we see a seller who clearly wants to show what’s possible by enhancing the photo, and a potential buyer seeing an image which they believe to be the current look of the home.
Unfortunately, the reality is far from the image on the left – so arriving out to view a home – which is a very emotive purchase – is going to cause some upset or hurt.
We are now at a place in time where the consequences are so far removed from the action of posting it online. Maybe they hoped to attract a professional landlord who didn’t care about the look of the home and would be happy with the location; someone who would see the purchase as an asset not a home. Maybe they believed they are entitled to portray a property in its best possible light as an aspiration for purchasers to get to.
At RiskEye, every day we see the consequences of posts like this – the harm ranges from emotional upset through to financial consequences and other potential risks. Working out to who, why, and where the harm happens is a big part of our work.
The lack or responsibility or consequences online is becoming more of a problem each day, but who do we need to hold accountable? Do we need stricter advertising standards, or does the responsibility lie with the platforms to hold influencers and businesses accountable for misleading consumer content?
The real world is a fantastic place – portraying a fictional or aspirational image in this setting serves no-one. Building up digital fiction and not caring about the consequences is bringing people’s feelings and mental health on a roller coaster of disappointment and feeds a version of reality that wears people out. We are better than this. The world doesn’t need to seem so disappointing in reality.