It’s no secret that Instagram has played a large role in trends and what bloggers, and even casual users of Instagram, choose to do in their day to day lives. Ever since I became a blogger, I started taking Instagram a little bit more seriously, and to be honest, there has definitely been times where Instagram has swayed a choice that I’ve made, whether it be a purchase or an experience I choose to have.
But despite Instagram being a tool which has pushed me into taking fashion a little bit more seriously, it’s not the only thing that affects my day to day life. As a blogger, it’s only natural that other blogs and other bloggers sway my opinions, persuade me to make certain purchases and change certain aspects of my lifestyle because of how it positively affected them.
Over the past year, I’ve noticed Instagram slightly taking over my life a little bit too much. The only time that my head wasn’t buried in an Instagram loop, and I wasn’t thinking about what to post and what to do for the gram, was when I was in Lisbon. Don’t get me wrong, I checked Instagram every day but I didn’t spend hours on my phone staring at my screen scrolling through the infinite supply of photographs on my feed.
Even though I do think that Instagram can be a negative tool and can manipulate the average user into thinking that this person and that person have better lives than them, I do also think that Instagram is a positive tool, it has made me unknowingly very self aware. I see this as a positive thing because I feel like even though I don’t think that I take myself that seriously, I do stop to think about how I’m coming across, who is looking at me and what are my words doing to affect someone else. This is implemented into my every day life and not just before I select a photo to upload and decide on a caption to write.
Everybody knows though, that not everything you see on social media, Instagram especially, is not one hundred percent real. We all know this, we’re not stupid. But it’s hard to not get influenced by something that you’re constantly looking at. The people you follow may not be that important to your every day life, but after seeing their posts nearly every day, seeing what they buy, how they dress, what they eat, the experiences they have and what their homes look like, it’s hard to not subconsciously pick up on things and begin to act that way yourself, even if you’re not intentionally doing it.
So, how has Instagram affected me personally?
I feel bad for saying this but: Instagram has never made me feel badly about myself. I was raised in the era of “Vogue isn’t real, it’s photoshop”, so it was only natural that this was carried on into what I see on social media as well. I know that I select the best images, that I only post when I have something good to post, so how does that mean that other people don’t too?
If anything, it’s affected me positively, yes, the algorithm sucks and the app developers never give us what we want, but they are not the magic behind what makes Instagram, it’s the people who use it. So, naturally, looking at the best bits of other peoples lives gives me a little bit of a kick, it makes me want the best bits in my life to be more frequent, but ironically, the best bits in my life only happen when my brain isn’t tuned into what’s Instagrammable.
Do I get the Instagram hype?
Yes, of course I do. As a blogger and even as someone who literally grew up with Instagram, I joined when I was fourteen, of course I’m going to get the hype. I get why people take it so seriously and I understand why it’s addictive. Instagram was a catapult into shaping my style as a teenager, I followed people who interested me and who I wanted to be like, I was fascinated by their ability to dress how they wanted to, dye their hair the colour they wanted to and modify their body how they wanted to. Thankfully I never got around to stretching my ears or getting my lip pierced, but I feel like elements of those reasons why I followed people back then still trickle into the reasons why I follow people now. They interest me, their personalities interest me, their styles interest me, their photography, all of it, but I have no desire to be these people. This is where the hype is at the root of, in my opinion.
Will I ever stop using Instagram?
Well, probably. I think that even though it’s at the peak of its popularity right now, something else will come around for the general public and for bloggers to latch on to. Instagram has made celebrity lives accessible, it’s made getting paid to post online more accessible, it’s basically been a staple in digital history, but something new will come along and overtake it, and we’ll laugh at our days spent scrolling down and double tapping our phones much like how we laugh at our Myspace and Bebo days.
I’ve actually stopped obsessing so much over Instagram lately, I feel like I can go days without checking it and I even went nearly a month without posting just because I didn’t want to. For me, the hype and the obsession is settling quite a lot, I’ve gotten over increasing my follower count and I don’t tend to think about how many likes a post got anymore.
Instagram has affected my life in a big way, it’s changed the way I buy and it’s changed the way I do a lot of things. I’ve been influenced by people I’ve never met, I’ve tried upping my photography game and selfie game just because I wanted a few more numbers to add to my stats, but 2018 for me will be the un-instagrammable year. I’m going to do things how I want to do them, not because someone with a couple hundred thousand followers did it first.