Social media has become an extremely influential tool in our day-to-day lives and the reality is that we often find ourselves relying on it. Social media platforms such as Instagram can be very helpful to us when it comes to building our businesses and spreading news quickly, but there’s a dark side to social media that often goes unspoken about.
Without even realizing, Instagram, a tool that many of us use every single day to help us grow, has managed to do the exact opposite. It is impacting the mental health of young women everywhere and making them feel inadequate or like they’ve somehow fallen behind in life.
The crazy thing about this social media era that we live in is that it’s somehow ushered in an entirely new kind of fame. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Instagram famous” or “Vine star” in a conversation among your friends. Essentially, what they’re talking about are people who have somehow become famous because of the content they’ve posted online, be it a viral modeling shot on Instagram or a 6-second video of a cat on Vine. These social media celebrities are often paid a lot of money by these platforms to continue rolling out new content in an effort to attract millions of new users to their app and it works! My question is… at what cost?
Nowadays it seems that just about everyone’s entire lives are on Instagram, but when I scroll through the last 24 hours of my feed I have to remind myself that that’s not the case. Instagram users are given a unique opportunity to do something that they can’t do in real life, which is to edit out the bad parts. If someone were to check my Instagram right now they would see that I took a relaxing trip to Florida, spent a beautiful weekend in the Hamptons and hiked to an amazing waterfall in Upstate New York, but that’s not all I did. By simply looking at my Instagram they wouldn’t be able to see the arguments I’ve had with my parents, the stress I’ve felt over finding a full-time job and all of the boring and lonely nights I’ve spent home alone. To others it looks like a picture perfect life, but it’s only a tiny sliver of my reality.
Next time you decide to look at other people’s accounts, remember that you’re only seeing what they want you to see, which is a tailored version of their real life. It’s the millisecond that the sun hit them the right way or the random angle that made their butt look good. Yeah, it seems like their lives just can’t get any better, but nine times out of ten they’re spending their Friday nights just like you: curled up on the couch in sweatpants, watching re-runs of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and diving into a big bag of potato chips!