Never has the phrase ‘Doing it for the gram’ been more real. In a world where we now rely on social media to check up on what others are doing, find out where the celebs are and get inspiration for decor, recipes and outfits, it’s no surprise we feel pressured to prove that we’re achieving things too; living our best lives and generally looking for validation of our choices.
I’m sure you’re all as guilty of this as me, posting the odd picture on Facebook or Instagram, or updating your Snapchat story to say ‘Hey look what I’m up to!’. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But it’s when it becomes a part of your everyday routine and a knee-jerk reaction to taking pictures of memorable moments, to then upload with a witty caption for everyone to judge, like and comment on. Just because you did a workout or made a nice salad or went to the beach, doesn’t mean you need to post about it.
I’m not kidding myself. I use Instagram every day. This is the social media app that I enjoy using the most. I’ve had it since it’s beginnings way back when I was in sixth form and it’s mainly because I love capturing pictures of things I’ve done/places I’ve been. I’ve always loved photography – be it in front of or behind the camera. So this app is my jam. I love searching inspiring landscapes, travel blogs and recipe ideas. I am also guilty of the odd stalk and celebrity follow (don’t judge me – we all do it). My profile is mainly a storyboard of memorable moments that have made me feel happy and I stalk myself sometimes, scrolling back purely to cheer me up. My holidays, my friends, my sister’s cats, nice food I’ve eaten and the odd travel vid. But lately, I’ve been consciously trying to post less or not feel the need to post when I’m out and about unless I want to share something in particular. I love Instagram stories, talking crap to the camera or sharing funny things about my day, but I don’t do it all the time, just when inspiration strikes.
Something else I’ve noticed about social media is how polished and perfected other people’s accounts are. People’s Instagram grids are the highlight reel. The best of the bunch. And we need to remember this. We don’t tend to post about when we’re bunged up with a cold on the sofa, or feeling too anxious to leave the house. We’re less likely to post about the fact we failed an exam or didn’t get the job. Instagram is little conditioned squares of life’s best bits. Which looks nice on the surface, but is damaging deep down. I try to be real and not worry about the ‘look’ of my feed. Some people (mainly bloggers and influencers) organise their feed down to the last detail. Planning posts in advance, changing the colour scheme and editing photos to within an inch of their life so they all fit together like some colour co-ordinated game of tetris.
In reality, one day I’ll be pigging out on pizza:
And the next I’ll be posing in a bikini:
Completely unrelated, but both real moments in time that I wanted to capture. I post for me. If I feel good today and take a selfie – up it goes! If I want to show the stunning volcano I hiked around in Costa Rica – then it may make it on the ‘gram. There is no right or wrong thing to share (unless it’s offensive obvs).
Social validation from strangers has become a focus for our society – how bizarre is that? People are looking at the likes on their photos, checking for views on their stories and hoping to hit a certain number of followers to feel like they’ve ‘made it’. It’s so sad that kids nowadays are aspiring to be a ‘social influence’. A survey of 1000 kids aged 7-16 found that 75% of them wanted to become a Youtuber/Vlogger/Influencer. Wtf. Gone are the days of aspiring to be a doctor or a nurse – these kids want to use their looks and bodies to promote pointless products that we do not need. I’m looking at you detox tea and teeth whitening kits! Where are the skills? Where is the substance? This is quite worrying and people need educating on this subject.
Posting pictures of your achievements to prove a point is in fact, pointless. Those that love and care about you will share in your successes regardless of your following. They’ll support you during the bad times and still be there regardless of anything you’ve posted. Think of it this way: what impact does that follower from another side of the country or someone you haven’t spoken to since school have on your life? Exactly.
Try sit up and realise – what we’re fed online is somebody’s filtered best bits. Don’t let this world fool you. Those with only 3 likes may have lots of friends. Those with thousands of followers could be lonely. Couples who post their engagement shoot could be covering deeper problems and those that never post pictures could have the most loving relationship imaginable. People can appear to be living a luxurious lifestyle but be racking up debt behind the scenes. You never have a true idea about someone’s life and shouldn’t be made to feel inferior because of false representations online.
Keep your head held high, post that beautiful selfie with your friends – or don’t. Just remember that not everything is as it seems.