Instagram, I can’t imagine my life without it but recently I’ve been thinking more and more about the impact it has on my life and my daily activities & even more so, what have I really been worrying for?!
It’s no secret that I’ve had many a “breakdown” about the little app. While I was on mat leave I spent SO much money on random crap because I’d seen it on Instagram and just HAD to have it.. Remember the knot cushion, Sebastian? No idea where that even is now. Little over a year ago, I even started a new account because I didn’t feel the pictures of my baby daughter were good enough. What the fuck?! I would be lying if I said that it didn’t get to the point that Seb was scared every time I suggested a trip out because he knew it would just be to have some photos, nothing would ever be good enough and I’d end up in a mood on the way back & I can’t even count how many times I’ve stayed up at night worrying about my “edit”. What a life eh? But totally worth it because happiness is measured in number of likes and followers & definitely not in real life experiences! Of course!! I mean, what’s the point in having a party or going out somewhere if you don’t get an instagramable picture of it?! I’m sure that some of you can relate when I say that I spent so much time and energy trying to make it look like I was happy & doing fulfilling, interesting things that happiness was actually far from my reach.
So I was thinking, when did it all begin? When did I start caring SO MUCH about.. well I don’t really know what?.. that I started editing the way I behave to enable me to have the most instagram worthy life? And did it make me happy? I can tell you the answer to the latter right now.. NOPE!
I’ve always loved Instagram. When I was younger I was desperate to get some kind of device just so I could have the app, in fact I think I bought my first iPad specifically so I could get it. Back then it was all dodgy filters and #girl #likeforlike and but I still remember wondering how people got so many (100+) followers and likes! I wanted to be like that. But it wasn’t until I had Saskia that I discovered the whole new world of instagram that I’d never been enlightened to before. Because come on, there’s definitely a difference between instagram and instagram, amirite?! As mentioned before, it got out of control. Ha. Oh god that sounds so lame.. but it’s true. There’s no denying it’s an addictive app and once you’re immersed in the instagram community there’s no going back. Everyone’s talking about “the algorithm” (said in a kind of sinister voice please) and their next “goal” and you get swept along. You feel inadequate if you don’t get a family photo at the weekend or if your wardrobe consists mainly of jeans and totally uninstagramable jumpers, I mean IMAGINE not owning a jumper from Boden or Joules..* But WHY?! Why are we all trying to grow our followings?
For some people it may be for their business, understandable. For some people it may be because they want to make their blog into their business, also understandable! & good luck to you all. But for me (& I’m going to be completely honest with you on this) I have no idea why. No idea! I have always got caught up in the numbers, always! & what more addictive numbers than that of Instagram followings. “I’ll be so happy when I get to 1,000” but of course nothing really changes and you’re just looking for the next goal to reach. The next insignificant goal that has no real consequence. What do Instagram followings mean in our day to day lives? Unless we’re looking to be influencers or make money from our photos then what do we even care about? Are we just all trying to turn ourselves into influencers?
To be honest, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want to grow your following. In fact I think it can be quite healthy to have a focus, to strive to take beautiful photos and capture the beauty in the everyday but when did being successful at Instagram require needing to have a grid full of tulip flatlays, bath caddy shots and a wardrobe full of animal print? (Not that I don’t love a bit of animal print… or do I actually like animal print? I don’t know any more.. I only started liking it after seeing it all over the ‘gram *covers face with hands*)
When did being your “authentic self” require being the same as everyone else? Are we so afraid that people won’t “like” what we have to offer that we need to conform to what is popular and what is trending? There’s a reason that advertising is moving towards the use of social media and influencers. By following perfect strangers with their fake* perfect lives, were shown things that we never knew we needed and encouraged to purchase them “for the likes”. We go out our way to plan our days “for the gram” and the overriding factor that tells us we’ve had a good time is whether we’ve got a good photo.
I’m not bitter, I promise I’m not bitter.. I genuinely love Instagram but here I am now, I still want to grow my account and be successful at instagram (whatever the fuck that means) but I’m trying to find the balance & whether you admit it publicly or not, I think a lot of people are in the same boat. I want to find the balance between creating good quality content and living my actual goddam life without spending all my money on flowers (because I always need to have fresh ones for the photos) or that bloody La redout rug (if I see it one more time I think I may cry!) Don’t get me wrong, instagram is GREAT. It’s sparked a passion and creativity in me that I never knew I had & it’s inspired me in so many ways. It’s also encouraged me to look for beauty in the every day but how do you stop from crossing the line into actually seeing the imperfections in the everyday? I just feel like I may be following 500 people but really I’m seeing the same things over and over again, I’m guilty too. Maybe we’re just all living in an even more fucked up version of “Josie & the Pussyccats” (please tell me you remember that movie?!) I still LOVE pretty feeds, there’s something so pleasing to the eye about seeing well thought about little squares and it’s definitely something I still wish to achieve. It’s great to be inspired, to have your eyes opened to new things and take ideas from what other people create. I just want to unjumble what will make me happy in the short term because I’ll get a good photo and what will ACTUALLY make me happy and then decide whether or not it’s worth it because I think the line so easily becomes blurred. And hey, if they over lap then all the better! I’ll be one happy lady.
If you’re still with me on this one, thank you so much for reading my long ramble with no real end goal! I really appreciate it, so big love to you. Please tell me I’m not alone on this one and it resonates with some of you?!
Love, Anna x
*some of what is written here is completely exaggerated and tongue-in-cheek!