I had an interesting discussion with a friend yesterday. After both checking our Instagram accounts at the same time, we got on the subject of the social media platform and the way it encourages people to cherry-pick the best moments of their lives to then show them off to others. While she tended to view a specific type of Instagram behaviour (think #notsohumblebrag) as particularly problematic, I am of the opinion that this is the nature of what Instagram is. So where does the sharing end and the bragging begin?
Instagram is, for the most part, a way to chronicle our lives for our friends (and in some cases, fans). But only the moments, be they good or bad, that we choose to show off. It is a filtered snapshot of life, of sorts.
But even in an age where we value singularity and authenticity above all other things, is that so bad? Do we ever reveal everything about ourselves to anyone, even in real life? I tend to think no one can be so naïve as to believe that Instagram can be the whole of somebody’s existence. There are so many unsaid moments in between each of those posts and that somehow makes each new one all the more interesting. For people we care about, that is.
Still, Instagram knows no rivals when it comes to making one’s life feel mediocre. There will always be someone who is doing more interesting things with their life and it makes you want to highlight the exciting moments in your own, however small they may be. In a way, it almost tricks us into believing that life is supposed to go from one photo of flowers on a Parisian balcony (follow The Cherry Blossom Girl if you want to be inundated with gorgeous fashion shots) to another. You know, instead of a reality that consists of trying to work for and catch elusive gleams of happiness in between lots and lots of insecurities.
As for me, I’ll often post a lot of photos at once and then disappear off of Instagram entirely for a few weeks. I’ll often wish my own Instagram looked prettier and more tailored. I’ll look at other people’s photos and wonder why I can never make the things I post look like that. I’ll often chide myself for not remembering to Instagram something. I’ll gossip about people who show off on Instagram and then do the exact same thing.
And while I’ve always believed that some of our best and most precious moments should not require validation from other people, it still feels kind of nice to have those same people like your post. We are, after all, inherently social creatures.
So yeah. Maybe it’d be interesting to post photos of difficult moments in one’s day and see what kind of a response we’d get. Or maybe we just all need a bit of distraction and escapism by looking at yummy food and gorgeous landscapes. I don’t really know, but with that in mind, here are a few photos from my own Instagram feed over the last week or so.