Okay, so I used to have a best friend, I thought they liked me as much as I liked them. I would pour hours of my time and energy into what I thought they liked and always seek approval from them. That ‘friend’ was called Instagram.
It was a slow transition. It started with an innocent picture of my Eggs Benny one day but boy did it escalate. It escalated to a point of missing fun times in place of getting ‘the shot’. It escalated to an extreme of sacrificing things I loved in place of taking pictures for brands or other ‘grammers’.
Now I will say one thing before I tell you the ugly truth. And that is I have met some AMAZING humans through the squares. Some people who are just deliciously kind and good hearted. Some people who are up for a laugh and don’t take the whole virtual world too seriously. For that reason alone, it could be worth it. But anyway here goes…..this is why I think Instagram is s**t.
YOU ARE BOMBARDED WITH OTHER PEOPLES S**T
Whether it’s good or bad news, you are constantly exposed to other peoples days/fears/news/relationships/cats/dogs – okay dogs are the good bits – but you get the picture. It would have been humanly impossible to come across such a large array of emotions/interactions within your 30 minute commute to work 10 years ago. But now? Now you get smacked in the face with millions of *other peoples* thoughts on random s**t before you’ve even had a chance to digest your morning cocoa pops.
The smallest action of opening up the app to see a few pretty pics can leave you angry, sad, happy, anxious or just plain confused. And the worst thing??? We still open it up. It’s like an addiction. But like all addictions, it can be unhealthy.
I wonder, do we really need to see what everyone is up to each and every day. Do we really need to see people having a crap time and complaining or having a great time and not complaining. I’m thinking maybe not so much.
IT IS NOT REAL
Instagram is not real life. It can never ever be real life. So why do we incorporate it into real life so much?? The constant updates, the talking stories, the massively long captions which make my eyes strained. It can never ever give the full picture of someones life. It’s the portion they are willing to share with you at that moment in time on that day. *It is not real* (I really can’t stress this enough). Think someones having a shit time, you could be totally wrong, think someones having a great time, again you’ll never know. You’ll never actually know unless you take them out for a wine/coffee, and even then you still might not know. Insta is just not real.
Now there are some great posts out there which aim to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth and therefore make people feel all warm and fuzzy. You know the ones I mean… talking openly about tummy rolls, or bad things that have happened to them in the day etc. But you know what??.. I don’t know about you but this can still have an impact on my mood. I end up feeling sad for someone if they complain and tell me they’re having a bad day – I take on some of their emotions just like I would a real life 3D friend. The tummy roll pics make me feel bad too, bad for not openly sharing my tummy rolls and loving them in the same way that the said ‘grammer can.
COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY
So, I want you to imagine a simple time, a time where people lived in a quiet village and would notice their neighbours new car or their friend’s snazzy landscaped garden. Maybe they gently eyed up their cousin’s watch and complimented their work colleague on their new Choos. Well all that is probably harmless right? However, add in a few hundred cars, gardens, watches, shoes, holidays which you are perusing day in day out and you could suddenly find yourself not appreciating all the beautiful things within your little real world. And that is just not cool.
I really do think it’s true when they say “Life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it”. You could miss all the flavours of the wonderful food you’re having one evening because you’re scrolling through your feed and eyeing up someone else’s night on the town. You could miss the brilliant result your kid got at school because you’re being bombarded with someone’s good news on the squares and rushing to congratulate them wholeheartedly. You could just miss it. Period.
YOU WORK YOUR SOCKS OFF ON THE GRID FOR HARDLY ANYTHING
Now coming from one challenging healthcare job onto a life in the squares I am honestly questioning if its all worth it. Sure, I get to unleash my creative side on any beautiful human that will look at it. I get to choose pretty outfits and sometimes I get sent beautiful clothes or even get paid to take pics of them. But there is a lot that you don’t see on Instagram. The location scouting, the ironing, the editing, the negotiating, the 10 emails back and forth for one picture and the 20 emails chasing payments from brands – sometimes they still don’t pay. I often sit myself down and think ‘what the actual hell am I doing this all for?’.
INSTAGRAM IS UNPREDICTABLE
Now one of the main things that grinds my gears about this slightly evil square app is the unpredictability of it all. The algorithm. The sodding algorithm. Just when you think you’ve got to grips with it, it frikkin changes AGAIN. I think the people at Insta must like to mess with people psyches or something. That’s my best guess. I think we will be talking in years to come about how Instagram scrapped the chronological order of things and where we were on that day!!!
At this moment in time they’ve screwed with the engagement side of things. Which is probably not a big deal if you’re just sharing a pic of your schnauzer (hopefully me in a few weeks) but, if you’ve worked your way up over the years to collaborate with brands they probably expect a certain amount of traffic on your posts. It’s kinda like being kicked in nuts by Insta since they hide EVERYONE’S posts. And it just doesn’t make sense. Also the smaller accounts suffer, lack of exposure leads to lack of growth going back to what I said earlier – what is the actual point??
QUALITY VS QUANTITY
Quite often quality and amazing content doesn’t add up to getting those elusive likes. Nope sir, its more about post timing, consistency and using the right hashtags (Some are too big and some are too small and some are jusssssst right). The trouble is, we’re NOT robots. We are humans with lives and we may not be able to manage all of the above on every post. And even if we do it drastically sucks all of the fun out of it like that miserable guy in the corner of the party who doesn’t wanna dance to Gloria Estefan.
SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?
1) Well, we could put our virtual tail between our legs and we could quit. Except, all that hard work?? Such a shame.
2) We could take a massive step back like, you know, to Brazil. If something is making you tense/pissed off/annoyed then I’m personally thinking it’s not even worth it. My recent mini Insta-break has refreshed my soul and done me the world of good. I’ve also noticed a mahoosive drop in my anxiety… funny that.
3) We could make our profiles private. Okay so if you’ve been mega relaxed about this in the past then it’s probably not gonna make a huge difference because lots of people have your data, but it’s probably a step in the right direction.
4) We could unfollow all the people that don’t spark joy in us. The problem with this is it changes on a daily basis for me and you might offend some genuinely gorgeous humans. But then as someone I know always says ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs’.
As for me, much like a badly behaved boyfriend from years ago, I’ll probably take Insta back with open arms at some point. But until that day, I’m enjoying the ups and downs of my delightful 3D world.
Big Love as always,
P.s I would love to hear your views on Instagram.