Is Instagram Ruining Our Lives?
I’ll admit it. I have an Instagram account, and I love to see photos of my friends on there. I love posting selfies of my makeup-clad face, adding filters, and maybe posting a video of the latest party I go to. Instagram can be fun, even awesome, when it comes to actually taking account of where you go and what you do. But, there’s a big problem with the way our Instagram-worthy, Pinterest interests seem to affect us.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that Instagram and Pinterest posts tend to look like they’re stage. To an extent, Instagram posts really are kind of staged – even if it’s only edited with one of the simple filters you can choose from when you post up a pic. Thanks to Instagram’s filters and editing software, it really does look like almost every photo on there is polished. Perhaps that’s why Instagram culture seems to worship that weird “effortlessly flawless” veneer of typical celebrity profiles?
It’s that same “false effortless” vibe of Instagram that seems to give us that weird pressure to keep up with the Kardashians of the social media world. Perhaps it’s that vibe that makes people feel like they need to put on a show about how glamorous or awesome their lives are. And, while we are supposed to make sure that each little post looks like it could compete with an A-list celebrity’s picture, we also don’t want them to look too forced or staged. (After all, we can’t try too hard.)
Most of the time when I’m with my friends and we take Instagram photos, it’s a spur of the moment thing. We just take a photo because we’re doing something fun, add a filter, and that’s that. For me, it’s not about getting likes or followers. It’s literally about just chilling out and having a place to store memories.
Because I don’t put in any effort, my photos are usually kind of shabby-looking, poorly filtered, and often feature me when I’m not exactly dressed my best. Half of the time when I’m recording something on camera, the angle is shaky and it’s literally a video of my friends eating something. Sometimes, I post even when hungover and bare-faced. Though I don’t always look good in my posts, I am okay with this because, hey, at least you can recognize me.
Then, there are some of the Instagram accounts I’ve seen of people who I have met in passing. These things are basically marketing campaigns involving caked-on makeup, hair styling, friends holding the camera, the right lighting, as well as a choice of the right-looking crew in your periphery. This would be totally okay with me, except for the fact that people don’t look like their Instagram pictures when they do this. What they cultivated was a plastic version of what life looks like, and I’m not sure that’s good for one’s psyche.
It’s that same kind of “effortlessly plastic life” people set up on Instagram that tends to bleed into real life. There are people out there that try to live the way that others look like they’re living on Instagram, just because they think that their lives are too dull if they just pay attention to the real stuff that’s going on in their world.
This isn’t healthy to begin with, especially when you think about what Instagram is doing to peoples’ body images and ideas of what real life should be. What’s worse is that this “Instagram culture” is so toxic that it’s affecting what people treasure and what people focus on in their relationships.
In striving to get that picture-perfect life, we forgot that looks only go skin deep. I’ve personally seen people who have rejected marriage proposals because they couldn’t brag about it well enough on Instagram. I’ve also been rejected from entering circles of friends because I wasn’t “glam” enough for their clique. Some of my closest friends have even been “blacked out” by these people on social media because they just didn’t have the right weight or wardrobe for their Instagram life.
People who do this, of course, end up forgetting to see the forest for the trees. In pursuit of looking picture perfect, they miss out on what’s really important. Sometimes, the least glamorous people are the ones who are the most beautiful inside. And, unfortunately for them, they lose out on great friendships by skipping out on talking to those people. In pursuit of that “perfect” life, they forget what’s really important.
Life isn’t picture-perfect. There will be moments where we look like death warmed over. We all will age. We may gain weight, or gain scars. Life can be ugly, as can the way that people look. Why cover it up, when that’s part of the beauty of living? In trying to get that perfect shot, people forgot to actually enjoy the moment. If you ask me, that’s way worse than just looking rough around the edges when you take that picture.