The Instagram Effect

unnamed-7Nowadays people are more content with looking like money, wealth, prosperity, and success…they are more content with appearing as if they have these things than they are with actually having these things. Isn’t it a paradox? We borrow money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even know. Since the introduction of websites like Instagram, our obsession with keeping up with the Joneses, or in this day and age the Kardashians, has amplified. There is so much trickery going on online that it really makes me miss the days when things were simpler; days before the internet.

I wake up and Instagram is the first thing that I check. I scroll through my timeline and see people who are trying so hard to appear as if they are funny, rich, and have a stadium full of avid haters. The crazy thing is some of these people I know personally and I see them trying to be this person that they aren’t…Embrace who you are; nothing is more unappealing than those who front for social networks. Social media sites make people feel more important than they actually are. Lest we forget that your follower count does not translate to dollars. In some instances, if you have a large enough following, companies will contact you to wear their products so that they can get more exposure. The companies may compensate you with money or free gear. But in most situations having thousands of followers doesn’t really translate to anything, but somehow people use their follower count as a way to look down on, or look up to others. It’s so easy to front online; no one knows that despite the fact that your rock designer duds, you live in the projects, don’t have a car, or any assets but the clothes on your back. I’d rather have money in the bank and look poor than look rich and have no money in my thousand dollar purse. The mantra of so many millennials is that appearance trumps all else on social media.

Sometimes it can even effect our self-esteem. I admit there have been times I have scrolled through my Instagram and see someone with a body I envy, or with hair I’d love, or on a beach in the Caribbean while I’m stuck in the snow. Viewing people’s lives from the outside looking in is not only detrimental to our self-esteem but it also gives viewers a false sense of entitlement. You think that you can comment on what goes on in peoples’ lives, many of whom you’ve never met before. That’s so odd to me. I follow many celebrities and pseudo-celebrities on Instagram but never have I ever felt the need to comment on their pictures. I don’t know them. They’re giving their supporters a glimpse into their life but never we can’t forget that we are never getting the full picture; only what they allow us to see. Is Instagram even an accurate reflection of our lives? We only post the happy moments; when we get engaged, married, have children, graduate, etc. It almost feels like you must post an obligatory picture of a life changing moments if you want people to deem it as important. If it wasn’t posted, it’s almost as if it never happened. I’ve found people saying “I never knew you dated so-and-so,” or “How come you didn’t post it on Facebook?”…um NEWSFLASH: Not everything needs to be posted on Facebook. You don’t have to alert the world of your every move. But somehow, we got it twisted and we feel that in order to feel like we’re doing ‘something’ we must post pictures and status for others to see.

Sometimes, it’s really dope to do something and not alert your entire social media network of what you’re doing. What was a vehicle to glimpse into the lives of others has become a vessel to deceive. Why can’t we just be real on Instagram and these other social networks? I’m not afraid to allow others to see that my life isn’t always peachy and that I make mistakes, hurt, bleed, and feel pain just like anyone else. I have to remind myself, as I scroll through the endless facades I see, that often times people are just putting on a show. What we see online is but a mere sliver of what goes on in someone’s life. Don’t think you can judge the whole when you’ve only seen a part. And don’t feel inadequate if you’re not on a beach somewhere exotic. If you’re not content with what you see on your timeline (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) one easy solution is to REMOVE it.

Instagram is a fun website to connect with people using pictures…if you find yourself more concerned with ‘likes’ and your follower count perhaps it’s time to unplug?

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