I love Instagram, I always have. I’ve always enjoyed taking photos and sharing them. Organic photos reflecting a memory, telling a story (and of course a few filters!).
When I first joined Instagram, the app was a little more low-key. It was at a time where Facebook was the ‘in-thing’. Besides- why would we need another new networking site just to post photos when we can already do this? But there was something different about Instagram…
A combination of intelligent filters and an exclusive, ‘members only’ feel to the app excited me. You didn’t have to think anything to say, or create an album of connected images to remember a significant event. Any single photo you liked was an acceptable post. The app brought a true meaning to the phrase “a photo says a thousand words”, and for users like myself it acts as a great business platform. You can tell a lot about a person from their Instagram feed.
But, the popularity of practically perfect Insta-famous-it-girls and famous-for-being-famous “celebrities” has added a new and what I believe to be slightly sour twist to the oh-so-fun social networking site so many of us knew and loved.
We now live in an era where people are spending their (potentially) hard earned income on likes and followers, creating an artificial lifestyle through photos to make not only our peers but also strangers believe we lead a more ‘glazed’ lifestyle than what might be 100% truthful… It seems to me that so many users thrive off the idea of others envying them.
For the most part, I still love Instagram. On a day-to-day basis I enjoy seeing people sharing their memories and street style, taking inspiration from their unique combination of Urban Decay Naked Palette shades and smiling at the vast sum of white background quotes scattered in between colourful imagery. However, I cannot help but scroll through my timeline and wonder… what is it you are you showing off, if what you’re putting out is not your own?
Of course there’s no denying that we’re all partial to the occasional Valencia filter and generic Instagram hash tag. In fact, I’m more than partial to putting what some would consider a shameful amount of time into taking the ‘perfect pic’. But its the users whos payday treat is a thousand extra followers, the girls who’ve made posting nudes on the gram acceptable, and the avid Facetune users skipping the gym but gaining the waist to bum ratio of Kim Kardashian overnight (and of course a unique curved doorframe?) that really concern me. I roll my eyes atleast four times before I make it to the bottom of my Instagram feed. Is this now the norm?!
Recently- along with I’m sure plenty of other fashion and beauty loving Instagram users, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. What does this shift mean for users (like myself), who wish to use this app and apps alike to brand themselves and express their personal style. Is it really possible to self express, without being self obsessed?