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Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and life. Hope you have a nice stay!

Instagram Sucks. Here's Why.

Instagram Sucks. Here's Why.

It’s nine pm on a Monday night. Crickets hum, the world turns, and clouds tuck the sky in for the evening. I sit, looking through Instagram-- the app that has, it seems, taken over my perception of myself. I am nestled underneath blankets and pillows, cuddled up next to my favorite stuffed animals. I look through pictures of friends, acquaintances, and creators I look up to. Pausing on a picture of Margot Lee, one of my all time favorite Youtubers, I found a voice in my head musing why don’t I look like that? Before I knew it, I had spiralled down a rabbit hole of self doubt-- how come my side profile is sub-par? How can I make my tummy flatter? How can I have a more productive day? A healthier day? 

Why am I not like her? 

Why am I not like her? 

Why am I not like her?

Don’t get me wrong, I am usually a pillar of self assurance, content with myself and my actions. I don’t particularly think my insecurities or fears are very visible to an outside onlooker, a close friend, or even, sometimes, myself. As I sat swaddled in my nest of blankets, I saw all of those anxieties amplified through an app that I claim to love as an outlet of self expression every day. I anguished at the thought that perhaps my creative plug had become unhealthy for me. Wandering over to my own Instagram page, I scrolled through what was, at best, a less filtered highlight reel than the one I was comparing myself to. A highlight reel, though, nonetheless. I felt a frustrating disappointment at how the app had limited me to this. To a stranger, this was all I was-- a girl in a bikini, a sunset painted onto a lake, an outfit I had worn. Where were my struggles? The time I cried myself to sleep over my plethora of college rejections? Where was my cackling laugh? My bird obsession? 

As I stared at my square pictures, I realized that this short-sighted look into my life mimicked how I wanted the world to see me. Even worse, how I wanted to see myself. Rather than the complex human being that I am, I wanted desperately to be like the people I claimed to take inspiration from on Instagram. A part of me wanted to become two dimensional-- unaware of those mental breakdowns, fears, and insecurities that are as much a part of me as the cute outfits and posed pictures. A part of me, selfishly, wanted people to look at me and think why am I not like her, too?

A part of me wanted to become two dimensional— unaware of those mental breakdowns, fears, and insecurities that are as much a part of me as the cute outfits and posed pictures.

As disgusted as I am by that fact, I know that I am not alone in that sentiment. It is one fostered by the nature of social media-- to be the best, the prettiest, the skinniest, the most politically aware, and even, funnily enough, the most real. Social media, particularly influencer culture, is fundamentally built on comparison. If you are not comparing yourself to other people, you are hoping that other people will compare themselves to you. 

Recently, as I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, I learned about how Instagram is hiding the number of likes on content in 7 countries. I felt relieved. Comparison to others (and even to myself, via my previous Instagram pictures) would be removed in a numerical sense, creating an environment focused more on taking real pictures and creating for yourself. This decision, in its essence, removes the control that the followers have over the user, and vice versa. Just as the audience seems far less powerful when the analytics are hidden, the user seems far more real when they are not shrouded behind them. The move gives more freedom to everyone involved-- freedom from comparison that fosters freedom to create.

Just as the audience seems far less powerful when the analytics are hidden, the user seems far more real when they are not shrouded behind them.

While I don’t believe that social media will ever provide a true and honest look into a user’s life, I do believe that removing the metrics is a step in the right direction. As the numbers fade away, there will be a stronger emphasis on utilizing social outlets to share real stories and creative musings. This is all I can ever hope for the platforms I both love and hate-- a steady move away from analytics and toward authenticity.


XOXO,

Sadie

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