When you scroll through your Instagram feed, what do you see? Memes? Celebrities? Models? Travel destinations? Your friends?
Let me take you through the first 10 photos on my Instagram feed
1. A musician/YouTuber's new book
2. my friend's parents
3. a tattoo
5. a celebrity getting her show-makeup done by a professional
6. a selfie of my friend
7. two celebrities at a photo shoot
8. my friend's sister
9. a YouTuber's baby
10. a mutual friend's holiday snaps.
I follow a mixture of people; vloggers, musicians, artists, celebrities, meme pages, businesses, organisations and my friends. I scroll and I see people, products and places. But do you know what they almost all have in common? They're of their best self.
People take photos of the highs of their lives, the mountain-top moments. People take photos of when they look good, when they've got good news to share, when they've had a good day, when they've got a good quality camera to take it on. People take photos when the lighting and background is good and the space is aesthetically pleasing.
People share photos when they've taken 40 pictures and they think maybe they're happy with number 27. They share the photo when they've edited the brightness, the contrast, the saturation, ambience, highlights, shadows and warmth. They share them when they've added lens-flares or blurred out the background.
I'm not shooting down the people that do this, because I'm one of them. I only share my best self, but that's what got me thinking and that's what challenged me. Out of my last 10 posts, all are edited, all are from when I was having a good day and 4 of them are staged.
I was working on my English Coursework today and I thought, "I'm going to make myself an iced latte, and then take a photo of my work", but I didn't do just that. I set my books in size order and I draped fairy lights across the back. I took 12 pictures, edited 3 and then decided I didn't like it after all, so didn't post anything. And better still, the caption wasn't going to be the truth of, "I hate A Levels, I've done barely any work all week", it was going to be something witty like, "why is home school not called house school?"
Don't get me wrong, not everyone does this. I'm not putting the 800 million users of Instagram all in one box and calling them all out. I'm also not saying that staging, perfecting or editing posts is a bad thing.
However, how different would your Instagram be, and taking it even further, perhaps your self confidence be, if your feed wasn't full of perfections?
I don't know about you, but sometimes I scroll through my feed and think that everyone must have really great lives, because that's all they post. I see people at events, parties, on dates at 'hipster cafes', walking through misty fields with their family. I scroll further and I think that everyone must be really happy, because that's all they post. I see excited smiles, happy smiles, loving smiles, cute smiles, alongside captions such as "so happy" or "blessed blessed blessed" or "life with her is the best life". I scroll even further and think that everyone must look good all the time, because that's all they ever post. I see colour-coordinated outfits, autumnal hats and scarves, professional makeup, figure-hugging Christmas dresses. And I look at all this and measure myself. I think, "I wish I was that happy all the time" or "I wish I could look that good in off-the-shoulder tops" or "I wish I went to more parties".
I'm not saying that we should never edit photos, never share the good points and instead only share imperfections. No way, that would just be sad to post and sad to read. But, it's worth bearing in mind when you scroll endlessly through the posts of those you follow that what you see isn't necessarily the real deal.
Catch you later,