If it wasn’t for Instagram, many of you wouldn’t be on this site or have a fucking clue who I am for that matter. So I love Instagram!… most of the time. Having an account on Instagram is like being married on your period; one minute you adore it, the next minute you feel like smothering it with a pillow because it’s chewing too loud.
It is the single reason most of you found us in the first place, it is an incredible creative outlet & it also connects us with like-minded poeple from all over the world. On the other hand it can be very distracting from real life & since everyone looks so fucking flawless, it does make you feel shitty about yourself from time to time.
Australian born, London based writer, Kaya Strehler is here today to give us all a little reality check.
Reality check by Kaya Strehler
If everyone posted the actuality of their lives to social media, sufce to say the results would be mind-numbingly mundane. No one gives two flying fucks about your bowl of budget muesli or your weekly grocery shop of tampons & baked beans. However, if you casually go whip up a bowl of organically grown, high in fax seed, chia seed & gluten free quinoa porridge, blend with perfectly symmetrical raspberries, arranged in a painfully symmetrical monument on top, or your daily fresh veggie shop complete with romanesco, samphire & jerusalem artichokes, in your #blessed life, then get ready for the cyber jealousy of the people who don’t realise that like most social media platforms, Instagram is merely a carefully planned out exaggeration.
It used to be just the magazines & TV screens that we were shown unattainable beauty & lifestyles but it seems that social media could be considered the new problem platform for unrealistic expectations embedded into the minds of the tech savvy generation. Teens (actually most people) are perusing profles wondering why their pout isn’t that on point, their ass can’t pop like that or realistic salaries can’t afford the lifestyle they want to show.
Newsfash: it isn’t real. It is a carefully curated version of what the individual wants to showcase to the world. Thai photographer, Chompoo Baritone, is calling bullshit on all of your aesthetically pleasing lies in his satirical photo series ‘Slow Life’. Originally posted to his Facebook (in Thai, so all presumptions are legit according to google translate…), the series showcase the double meaning of Instagram posts that essentially make you feel super shitty about your own non tumblr-esque life. Combining an original post, filter and all, with the images original setting reinforces the idea that no ones life is as beautifully curated as they want you to believe.
Look at new parents for example. Photo after photo of wrinkly little mini people snoozing away, looking serene as they have their first bath or rocking some overpriced baby Nikes. The photos you don’t see are the red in the face inconsolable screams, the disgruntled grimace as they destroy surface after surface with their curry like crap or the rest of the living space that was not included in the ‘sleeping on a sheepskin’ photo.
Don’t get me wrong with the negative stance of my rant so far. I also get drawn into the Instagram blackhole and have been known to post in a narcissistic manner on occasion. I also give two gold stars to the creative tech savvy individuals who have utilised social media as a new platform to market themselves. The ones who have built themselves into revenue inducing entities based on the number game. It takes time, dedication & thick skin to pull this of successfully and only the persistent (& genetically blessed) come out on top.
It’s not only individuals who have cottoned on to the power of social media as a business tool. Brands like Marc by Marc Jacobs, Gosha Rubchinskiy & ASOS have all used social media, primarily Instagram as a way to cast for their shows & campaigns & essentially draw in consumers to interact. Not only this but it can be used as a tool to sell products at a rapid pace with zero overhead, develop your brands identity with a few filters, attract customers with a few hashtags & conduct market research with a few queries in the comments section.
There is no denying that social media is becoming increasingly essential, as well as addictive, but like most things it comes at a price. While we share more & more of ourselves, science shows that we are in fact becoming lonelier & even depressed when triggering states of envy & resentment passively enter our minds.
Self esteem & realistic lifestyle expectations seem to be at an all time low & anxiety levels high, so it’s important to remember that Instagram is not a realistic platform. It is the place individuals show a curated, manicured & very tiny aspect of themselves & their lives.
There ain’t nothing wrong with that, just as long as you remember:
a) Primarily, the images & accounts you envy have been stylised, curated, filtered, warped, whatever, to make it look more appealing & attract viewers. It’s being used as marketing after all.
b) Yes, it is a powerful promotional tool but it is also a platform for pessimistic people life myself to get up on my high horse & judge unfairly, it’s sadly in our nature to now do this. Thicken up that skin & ignore the haters.
c) No one has a pout like Kylie Jenner, not even Kylie Jenner.
Gram on my friends, just be weary.