Our need to be accepted by people we don’t even know is quite frightening.
I think this blog is moving into slightly dangerous territory as I talk about slightly more personal subjects. But my feeling is if I’m feeling these things then most certainly other people are too. Also these are things that people don’t really talk about in every day conversation. It’s important to at least be aware of what something as normal as Instagram is doing to our state of mind.
What is even the point of Instagram? Well everyone who uses it will give you a different answer but if we boil it down to the fundamentals Instagram is a tool we use to feel better about ourselves. You absolutely have to let all 31 of your followers know what the hell you’re doing every minute of every day. Every picture has to get a certain amount of likes otherwise it’s a failure. No matter if people have liked it because they like everything, liked it by accident or they have given you a pity like. A like is a like, and even though it’s just a number on a page it means so much more to us. So much that if we don’t reach a certain amount of likes we will delete that photo. Isn’t that just wild?
Do you remember back in the day people use to tell you not to worry what other people think about you. Heck, people are still saying that today. But not even just that, as long as you’re happy you shouldn’t worry about what other people think. But what if the majority of our happiness is down to what other people think of us? And that is the problem with Instagram. We’ve become obsessed with stats to the point where we’re all marketers now. What can I do to get more followers, what photo will get me the most likes. This is all normal though. You do get a sense of joy knowing that people are liking what you post. Any form of our own art or creative output, when appreciated by others, is a real self esteem boost. But is this driving your use of the social media platform?
And the problem is much greater than this actually. Because unless we have thousands of followers or just love to keep our friends updated on every facet of our life we will spend the majority of time looking at other people’s posts. And it’s important to remember that all social media is presented to us through a lens… oh and filters… so many filters. Nothing is quite as we see it. But we’re not thinking about this when we see that person standing next to a $1million dollar car or our friend who is travelling the world and taking photos at some pretty crazy locations. Sure all these people seem happy, and their lives look like ones to be desired, but it’s not the full story. Is anyone living a truly happy life? Are these photos truly representative of these people’s lives? Of course not, but we choose what we post and therefore choose what other people see. And it’s crazy to think that we can, to a certain extent, manipulate people’s perceptions of us. You’re posting photos of yourself at these amazing restaurants with friends, but the 6 other nights during the week you microwaved a meal for one at home alone.
And it’s getting to the point now where these people we follow on Instagram don’t look real. Their lives look so manufactured and you just think, do people like this even exist. They post pics in these glamourous locations with captions that are so lifeless and souless a bot could have written it. But these are the people with thousands of followers. The people that young people these days are aspiring to be like but the truth is the majority of us will never lead a life like that. Your butt will never look like that, you’ll never have a house like that and your make up will never look that good. And you can’t compete with people’s who’s job it is to post to Instagram. Even though I am guilty of following a lot of “insta-famous” people the accounts I love the most are ones that feel real. The ones that have photos that are clearly not taken on a £2000 camera. The ones that have a bit of personality and humour.
Will I ever stop following the Insta-famuous people though? No. Probably not. It’s hard to escape them and a lot of the time the reason why you follow them is because they possess something you want. It’s like window shopping. We’ve all done it, and even though it isn’t really good for us, longing for things we can’t have, we do it anyway and we’ll never stop.
There is a slightly more positive outlook you can take though. I will say that when I do come across profile’s I like, it may be a really cool photographer, a food blogger, or just a good looking human being, it’s nice to have access to these people. Before Instagram you never really could. But then I guess the downside to this is that it’s not really socially acceptable to just try and become friends with someone on Instagram that you don’t know. Or is it? If you received a message on Instagram from a stranger that was just looking to get to know you better because of your profile, would you been open to that? And we have all become slightly up our own arses. Saying “no DMs” in your bio when you have thousands of followers. Fine fair enough. But saying it when you have 200. Hmmmmm… I don’t know. I guess it’s your profile do what you like but it’s called social media for a reason. I would love to hear of some friendships or relationships that have formed because someone slid into someone elses’s dm’s on Instagram.
e does it end? How do we live a life on Instagram that doesn’t potentially lead to depression. I don’t bloody know. Seems like anything can make you depressed these days.