We all know it. Instagram and social media in general can give us a headache from time to time. Whether you’re just sharing families snapshots or in it to make a living, Instagram opens up doors that we don’t see in day to day life. Comparisons between families, money, bodies, careers, vacations happen with every scroll of the thumb. We’re human, and wired to believe “the grass is always greener on the other side.”
Though I am guilty of falling into the same trap, feeling as though the girl with 4,000 Instagram likes on her “Saturday night look” has a better life than me, I can snap myself out of it fairly lively. I didn’t need to delete Instagram to learn that. My point is, I’m sure even Beyonce herself gets envious from time to time. IT’S NORMAL.
Because I started a blog in 2012 – 7 years ago – I have grown up through the ascension of the digital world where we’re lead to believe “the highlight reel” we see on our feeds is real. (The reel is not real, get it?) Over the past three years, I felt as though social media has become messier, busier and so far from authentic to the point where it made me uncomfortable.
So for 6 months, I lived pretty much Instagram-free. The first three days were the hardest. I was twitching and kept looking at my phone to habitually open the app again and again and again. After I got used to using my phone less, I began feeling more relaxed. I decreased my social media usage by about 92% immediately. Once I got over the initial shock, I kind of forgot Instagram even existed and still, life continued to be great. I also got more sleep, saved more battery on my phone, called my friends more and had a clearer head in general.
So, what did I learn after spending half a year off the most popular app in the world, the app that pretty much defines our generation?
I learned that this Instagram world has swayed so, so far from the truth. The similarity of the majority of content on the platform is astonishing, and it looks like a popularity contest from the outside. The same poses, the same hashtags, the same branded handbags, the same places, and planning vacation after vacation after vacation, just so it can all be shown on Instagram.
And I’m not mad about these cutesy shots that fill my feed. I don’t hate on a quote caption, a Starbucks cup or a designer handbag. (Girl, do you!) I just fear that the association with having a k beside your name, using #spon, the Hermès and the Chanel has all been taken out of context and when it’s done in volumes, it puts the wrong message out there. It’s simply not true. People rent cars to take photos for IG in them, people rent handbags and dresses and jump over airport fences to take a picture beside a private jet just for an IG shot. It’s just not true and I don’t think that’s right.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media just as much as the next person. When I see an influencer or my friend wearing a kick-ass outfit, I’ll double tap that shit up. I love the glam, the luxury and the holidays…by all means, I want it all. But what happens when that’s all we want, and we forget where our integrity comes from and we start to believe those with a comma in their likes are better people. If you rely on strangers on the internet to tell you what posts are good and bad, you’re in trouble. Outsourcing your dignity is not sustainable. I wonder…if Instagram died in the morning, who would shrug it off and keep living life and who would struggle to pick up the pieces?
So how do we establish a balance between sharing fun, inspiring, visually pleasing content and actually being realistic about life?
I can’t speak for the majority, but I can speak for myself. Though I am guilty of posting my own share of ‘stun hun’ shots, I’ve always had it in the back of my head that I wanted my content to be more than that. Okay, yeah, getting a great shot is cool. Throwing on a filter makes my highlighter pop or my legs look longer than they are. We, as humans, are always more receptive to a good visual. But deep down, I just give a fuck about actually being real. Even though I like everything to look cute and pretty and nice, I really want the message, the lessons and the thoughts to be substantially stronger than the visuals.
So what really happened when I deleted Instagram was that I understood the importance of the truth and the unimportance of social media. And though the cute outfits and all the snazzy stuff aren’t going anywhere and I plan on executing more content than ever, I’ve definitely turned a corner in my past 7 years of blogging. Here’s to deciding that the next 7 look will look a lot different than before.