Instagram: An Illusion? (COM0011)

Let’s face it – when it comes to the art that is posting on Instagram, we publish nothing short of our absolute best moments. The celebrations, the accomplishments, the degrees, the anniversaries. We show off our best angles, our favourite edited pictures, and our curated moments. And for what?

Comparison Is The Thief of Joy

It can be difficult to decipher right from wrong and real from fake on social media. As we consume what we’re scrolling through, we dive deeper into people’s lives, meanwhile reflecting on our own; it can become second nature to compare ourselves to others, and question whether or not we are good enough.

  • Should I be at that stage in my life?
  • Am I successful enough?
  • Why don’t I look pretty like she does?

Time Magazine explains that “social media posts can also set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem”. Although it is our conscious choice to keep scrolling, Instagram paints the narrative that people are living in a fairytale-like world. With no negativity advertised, we succumb to the idea that people are living perfect lives without even realizing the impact that has on our mindsets. Why would we ever believe otherwise, when that’s all we see? It becomes challenging to make the clear distinction between the highlight reels that people post, and the actual human being behind the portrait who in reality is living a very average life like we are.

The Pressure to Fit In

It is in our nature to want to fit in and be a part of something that is bigger than us. We want to feel as though we are contributing to a higher good, we want a sense of community, and we want to blend in with the crowd. However, how does one do so when we subconsciously know that what we are seeing isn’t reality? It has been said that “the addictive nature of Instagram, its emphasis on ‘best moments’, filters that enhance skin tone or lighten the eyes, and the dominance of influencers who promote a glamorous lifestyle, can create a toxic environment”. People only post what they want you to see and believe, and it is rare to come across someone who is sharing their low points. With that being said, we all crave relatability; we want to see our favourite celebrities, content creators, and individuals that we admire, share the not so curated moments with us. It gives us a sense of comfort knowing that the people that we put on such a high pedestal, are human just like we are. Unfortunately, the American Psychological Association states that “by design, the app capitalizes on users’ biological drive for social belonging—and nudges them to keep on scrolling”. We know better than to feed in to what we are consuming, yet we are unable to resist the temptation.

In a virtual world filled with edited moments, it is important to take a step back and reflect on our own personal victories rather than chase what’s next based off what Instagram is telling us we should be doing. It can also be an opportunity to appreciate where we are in our own journey, and recognize that just because our lives aren’t identical to those we follow, we are still enough. Granted, that is easier said than done. Have you fallen for Instagram’s illusion?

Facebook: Go read this blog post titled “Instagram: An Illusion?” for more information on the realities of this social media platform.

Twitter: Have 5 minutes to spare? Read this blog post! “Instagram: An Illusion?” #instagram #curatedmoments #socialmedia #blogpost

7 thoughts on “Instagram: An Illusion? (COM0011)

  1. Camille, I enjoyed your Blog. The pressure to “fit in” is very real issue and I often empathize with the generation who has been affected the most by emergence of social media, in particular Instagram where photos of yourself are published for everyone to view and judge.

    Just the other day I was discussing this with a friend. I am 56 and in my youth, when we took a photo, it required us to develop film and no edits could be made. We got what our camera took, and only after someone brought the film in for developing could we view our photos. Sometimes, we never saw photos family and friends took. Honestly, 56 is not that old, yet old enough to witness such tremendous change. This is also one of the reasons I am taking this course, to update myself and to “fit in” by knowing how we use the various social media outlets to express ourselves and communicate.

  2. Great read and very insightful. I particularly like the line “In a virtual world filled with edited moments, it is important to take a step back.” It’s interesting to think about how many images are edited that we don’t even realize.

    I have definitely fallen for Instagram’s illusions, and I myself have been guilty of editing photos and curating a “perfect” Instagram profile, though this was years ago. I have since learned more and am able to identify when someone’s photo looks a bit too perfect. I made a pact with myself a while ago to not edit myself in photos – if there’s a blemish, everyone is going to see it, and that’s okay! Now that I’m in my mid-twenties I’m highly aware of how fake what people are presenting on social media can be and I’ve learned to not compare or let something I see on social media make me feel bad about myself.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog post and thought you touched upon some very important notions. I subconsciously am always comparing my looks, my life, and the content I’m posting to those of my peers or even worse, to celebrities. I think this entire topic draws upon the idea that the digitization of our lifestyles creates such an accessible outlet for us to want this “perfect” life that’s constantly being pushed on us as we scroll. Personally, when I read your conclusion the first thing that popped into my head was the “that girl” lifestyle being pushed online recently. Characteristics of “that girl” are things like waking up at 5am, always being clean, everything looking aesthetic (even in sweats), working out, working a full time job and doing school, and in one aspect it’s very motivational. But in another, it can feel like if you’re not accomplishing what she is, you’re deemed ‘lazy’ or ‘unproductive’. It’s very challenging, and in a world where social media consumes our lives, I totally agree we often need to step back and take a break from the media we are consuming. Or, at least realize this isn’t a typical lifestyle and there are always things going on behind the profile picture.


    I just read your blog and wanted to tell you that it was interesting to read. I find it interesting that you decided to write about how Instagram and the negative effect it can have on people. As much as I’ve heard about Instagram pushing people to seem like they have the perfect lives, it was nice to hear it from someone else’s point of view. Once again, this was an interesting read and I hope you do well in this course.

  5. Such an important topic that everyone needs to remember when using social media. That which is posted to social media is many times only the good or best times of someones lives and not to judge youself base on what you see on social media. I have had to take a step back from social media myself, especially when I am feeling unsure about my life and decisions I have made and remind myself that there is no set timeline for ones life and we all follow a different path. Reminding yourself about the accomlisments you have had and being grateful for them. Sometimes I woulder if there should be a warning/reminder that pop up on Instagram that remind us that we are important/amzing too and to not judge others on a photo; that everyone deals with hard times.

  6. CAMILLELEDUC10 – what a great read!

    I particularly enjoyed your blog because everything you’ve discussed are indeed things that have crossed my mind on several different occasions and I couldn’t have said it better myself.
    For some, comparison can be extremely exhausting but comparison for me is 100% linked to the need to fit in. When seeing old friends sharing their photo’s of their family where the house is always clean and the individuals hair and make are almost always perfectly done; it makes me feel like I’m lacking and makes me wonder…. how come my house isn’t always perfectly clean? Or why can I not find the time to curl my hair and do my makeup before rushing out the door to get the kids to school and myself off to work. With that being said, I rarely post photo’s of my family (even though I take so many) simply because I fear that I will be judged or not fit in with ‘the cool kids’. I think it is an important that we remind ourselves that not everything is always exactly the way it seems.

    Thanks again for the read! What a great blog!

  7. Camille you really hit the nail on the head when you wrote this blog! Social media is not reality and is not our daily lives. Your advice to people to take a step back and reflect is so on point! I have friends who have been given counseling advice to actually go off of social media for the sake of their own mental health! I know of others who take “breaks” from social media to give themselves time to regroup. That being said it is tragic that we are having these issues that drive people to feel this way. I also have seen on the positive side where people can lift people up on social media and make them feel like they are worthwhile and valued so when I see those posts I try to make a point to give them validation. Like most things social media has its pros and cons but we must remember that behind everyone’s post is a human being with feelings 🙂
    Thanks for the great blog!

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