Nobody is a fool here. We all know the duality of social media. The real life that occurs offscreen, and the (usually) heavily filtered, perfect version that appears on our Instagram pages.
Lately there's been an uprising in making a point of criticizing the too "perfect" Instagram accounts- a hilarious parody account, socalitybarbie, has taken off like wildfire and garnered 1.3 million followers seemingly overnight. The account was created by a Portland-based wedding photographer, who explained,
"People were all taking the same pictures in the same places and using the same captions. I couldn't tell any of their pictures apart, so I thought, 'What better way to make my point than with a mass-produced doll?'"
I get it. It's easy to drink the haterade and rip on accounts that, frankly, some of them really are rather unoriginal and do look the same--many thanks to VSCOcam.
But see, I don't have a problem with this duality. I actually love both sides. I love beautifully curated feeds with pleasing aesthetics and explosions of idyllic happiness, unicorns, and cortados, and I also love things like #WomenIRL, where women post the not so picture-perfect realities of their daily lives.
Here's another way I see it: What's so wrong with a curated, aesthetic-based Instagram feed?
The people who hate on this sort of thing, and rip on their Facebook friends that choose to only display their proud moments on social media (#blessed!)-- let's be honest for a second. Do you only follow people that post photos of their sloppily half-eaten meals in tupperware, their blurry shots of their cat doing something random, and their kids throwing a tomato-faced tantrum? I would wager that you probably don't. And you probably wouldn't enjoy it if you did. Also, face it, in the motivation to bash all the #blessed people, there is always a hint of jealousy or insecurity coming from your side. Remember your feelings are not about them, they're about you.
The "perfect" looking feeds I follow, I follow to get creative inspiration from. I love finding new fun places to explore in different cities, as I've found many of my favorite international spots thanks to Instagram. I love seeing how 5 different Instagrammers at the same event or lunch chose to take their photo, because the talented ones with an actual eye for photography do really have different styles. I enjoy seeing pretty things on my feed, because it usually will inspire me and put a little spring in my step if I'm brainstorming.
I'm all for showing moments of realness, vulnerability, and the uglier parts of our lives we have- because that is what is relatable and human. But I personally use my Instagram feed to highlight little moments in a creative and fun way that I hope people find enjoyable. It also allows me to grow, creatively in my photography skills and my eye for styling.
Here's where it turns into dangerous territory:
when people start to let themselves take this type of social media to heart, and believe that these people truly live picture-perfect lives.
It's one thing to be aware that these seemingly extraordinary lifestyles aren't 100% real, but it's another to not let it seep into your subconscious. It should be fun, and a creative platform- not a barometer for how you should live your life. Don't take it so seriously, otherwise it will absolutely get to you.
I'm guilty of that too- letting myself feel badly about my life because I see all these lavish adventures some people seem to be having every other day, or feeling like my work doesn't measure up. Then, I have to remind myself that my life is my own, and it's more important for me to live my life in the present everyday- not through a social media page.
There is also this: social media can be a dangerous veil that hides some grim stuff underneath it. Try to remember that, when you are exclaiming how perfect this person's life looks, therefore you think it give you free reign to bash on him/her-- you have no idea what kind of battle they may be facing on the inside.
Everyone has their own battles to fight; respect each others, even if you don't understand them.
Another rule I try to live by is this:
Don't let social media interfere with being present.
I only find social media and my phone to be bad when it starts to hamper on my human interpersonal experiences. I have a few tips for this, having learned from mistakes and experience:
1. No phones out on the table at meals with people or just when with any type of company, unless urgent matters arise.
2. If taking pictures of food at meal, I try to take max 60 seconds (I'm not kidding) to snap a quick few photos. Then I put my phone away- I don't ever edit or post photos while I am still with someone. It can always wait, my friends and family shouldn't have to.
3. No mindless scrolling through feeds. We've all done this- there's a lull in conversation, and suddenly your phone is in your hands and you're halfway down your Facebook feed before you realize what's happening. It is literally telling the person across from you, that your screen and other friends who are not there, are more important than them, and it's so disengaging & rude.
4. This tip might seem backwards with all this "put your phone away!" stuff, but also- social media is exactly that. It's social. I have loved getting to meet people who are passionate about the same things as me, and enjoy the fun-spirited side of being creative with this kinda stuff. Let it be a social activity that you do together rather than just by yourself.
Lastly, I leave you with this.
Like I said, I try to not take myself too seriously with my social media, and my boyfriend aids in that by building a collection of "Minna taking photos of food," that my sister also contributes to... *monkey covering eyes emoji* So on that note...