Whether it is a status update on Facebook or a news article on Buzzfeed, there is no denying that what is presented on online influences the way we think and the way we act.
When Instagram first gained popularity, I was one of the last people amongst my friends to join. One reason for my delayed entrance into this new social media craze was because I saw how obsessed my classmates got when it came to the number of followers they had or the number of likes they got on a post. I vowed to myself that if I joined Instagram, I would never become so obsessed with the superficial. I vowed to myself that I would use Instagram solely for the sake of sharing memorable experiences with those I cared about and with those who inspired me.
For most of the time I stuck to my vow, but other times I found myself being heavily conscious about my online status. How does she have so many followers? Am I not popular? Do people not care?
Everyone wants to feel validated, everyone wants to feel important. No matter how strong or confident I was in myself, it was only natural that I felt the occasional tang of jealousy and insecurity.
Beyond this, scrolling through Instagram also led to irritation. It was irritating to see unrealistic, distorted depictions of body image: friends who edited their photos to make their breasts look fuller or their biceps larger. It was irritating to read comments talking about how “hotttt” our bodies are or how “goals” our latest vacation was. And these behaviors that we adopted online would influence other parts of our lives; dinner with friends meant an opportunity to showcase our “active, fun social life” to our followers, and early morning hikes were to showcase our “sporty side”.
Of course, not all of Instagram is fake and superficial. And of course, I respect those who enjoy using the platform to share their lives to each other.
For me however, Instagram didn’t fulfill the purpose that I had set out for it to be. I realized that the irritation and insecurities I felt outweighed the pleasure. And for that reason, I deleted it. And apart from the cute puppy videos that I followed, I don’t miss it at all.