Can We Talk About Instagram For A Sec?

Hey, friends! Instagram vs. Reality was a hot topic of discussion last year, what with the whole Essena O'Neill situation adding a metric tonne of fuel to the media's slow-burning representation of social networks as a vacuous and staged platform used only to sell an image. The social-shaming articles that once only peppered our newsfeeds (ironic that their venue for distribution is the very one they critique, eh?) poured in, and those of us who genuinely enjoyed using social media were upset. Don't worry, this post is not another response to Miss O'Neill, but I do want to address a few things about Instagram, authenticity, and comparison.

The catalyst for this little post was the realisation that despite my best efforts, I often fall into the oh-so-human trap of comparison. Whether we're aware of it or not, we've all done it. Sometimes it is masked as 'inspiration' - most often for me personally - in that we believe that we are simply aspiring to replicate elements of a person's life, and not pitting ourselves against them.

While having #goals is definitely an great habit, when they come in the form or worshipping someone's social media image and in turn criticising your own real life, its not altogether healthy.
I.e. admiring someone's post about their luxury house and thinking 'Wow, I'd like to work hard to create a financially stable life for myself = good, but 'I need to buy this girl's entire closet because she is so effortlessly cool and being effortlessly cool will make me happy = not good.

Moreover, as much as I'd like to think I'm as genuine as I can possibly be on social media, it's always going to be a little bit staged. It's impossible for it not to be, really.You don't see the pile of laundry in the corner of their room, nor the gentle cry they had when they realised they were out of milk for their coffee that morning. It's truly impossible to know someone through social media alone, and thus we only see what others choose to put forward.  I like to call this The Cropping Effect.

You see, each picture on Instagram is quite literally only a snapshot of someone else's day. This snapshot, however, is often a process in the making.

Sometimes it means taking 400+ selfies in one sitting because you're really proud of the work you put into your makeup and thus you want to make sure the lighting and angle do it justice. So, you crop out your bad photos and post the best one.

For every one of these...

There are several of these.

Sometimes it means capturing a moment with a friend, because its happy and special, but cropping out the emotional conversation you had earlier. Because sometimes sharing and celebrating the good times is more important.

And sometimes it means spending half an hour staging a flatlay. For instance, sometimes I want to take a cute picture of myself blogging away about my favourite products, in bed (because I'm a potato and work from bed), but the natural lighting in my bedroom is abhorrent. So, do I post a terribly lit photo in which the products I'd like to rave about are indistinguishable, or do I move a blanket out into the lounge and arrange my products atop it to give the exact same image in a higher quality? I do the latter, and crop out the walls. Do I think this is lying or disingenuous? No.

Why? Aside from the fact that my captions quite often poke fun at how long it took for me to artfully arrange said products, because I'm not staging something unattainable or damaging. It's my reality, with better lighting. Which, really, is a great euphemism for social networking.

In short, we need to not only be mindful of how we post on social media, but how we view others' networks. Take each picture with a grain of salt and try, where possible, to admire without comparison. Your life is no less valid because your Instagram doesn't have a theme. Having a pair of Louboutins won't make you a better person. I promise her hair doesn't always look that casual and perfect.

Lot's of love,
Sophia ♡


Thank you so much for reading, have a beautiful day!

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