Instagram is described as “a community of more than 600 million who capture and share the world’s moments on the service”. The question here is: are we sharing an accurate representation of our life in the “moments” we post on social media platforms such as Instagram?
On a general note, unless you are a journalist or war photographer, most of us take pictures of things and moments we think are beautiful or worth remembering. Do you feel like taking picture of yourself when you come back from a night of dancing? Do you want to show pictures of your messy kitchen after cooking a meal? Probably not – however, taking a picture of your group of friends before a night out or a picture of your family gathered around the table sounds more likely. One could then argue it is normal for our Instagram feeds to be filled with the best parts of our lives.
One thing to consider is that in this time where social media has become an almost integral part of our lives, we are bombarded with images that help shape how we view our reality. More than ever before, we compare our lives to others’. In an article from Huffington Post, Alyssa Westring talks about social comparison and how social media makes it so easy to access information about other people; information that, in the absence of objective feedback, we use to evaluate ourselves. It’s common knowledge now that people go through hoops and bounds, dozens of takes, and carefully choose what is left out of the frame to take pictures for social media. We are therefore left with a bunch of “picture perfect” moments to which we can compare our lives… and if you are like me, at times, this has made you feel terrible about yourself.
Striking a balance
Lately, I’ve been feeling down after mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Seeing beautifully crafted smoothie bowls and pictures of flawless home decor was making me rethink what I ate and how my house looked. I decided to unfollow any account that I couldn’t relate to in a realistic way. Let’s face it – I am not getting off Instagram anytime soon, so I need to carefully choose what I spend my time looking at. I think the baseline to use social media in a healthy and beneficial way is to constantly check-in with yourself, question the content and immediately unfollow people or organizations that do not affect you in a positive way. It is important to remember that people pick the moments they share, and how they share them.
What about you? How do you make sure you don’t fall in the social comparison trap that is Instagram?