Instagram is probably my most used social media account. I recent got rid of Facebook again, because I find it insufferable and dull, but something about Instagram is hard to stay away from. However as I was doing my obligatory morning scroll through my feed today, I got increasingly disheartened and I’m considering taking a break from all social media altogether.
I follow quite a few different accounts. Some are for sewing, some for shopping, some for art, some for travel, and some because I just think the girls who own the accounts are pretty, and my homosexual heart is a sucker for a nice face. Many of these photos that come up that look so beautiful, are posed and edited and, in a lot of cases, fake. But it’s easy to forget that. It’s easy to look at all these carefully curated photos and think “why doesn’t my life look like that?” Comparatively, I feel like I’m a dull, grey person in a world full of shiny bright people and I can’t help but occasionally feel a bit boring. Which is, of course, no fault of the other account holders.
Let’s be honest here; many photos uploaded to social media are altered to appear better. That is the very nature of the beast, after all. And it’s easy to forget that the facade people put forward to the world only shows the happy shiny pieces of their lives that they want to share. It rarely discusses, in an open and honest way, about the other half of life. The struggles, the anxieties, the being awake at 3 in the morning and wondering if you’ll ever be good enough. Ok, so maybe not everyone feels that way, but my point stands.
We average people – that is to say, those of us who aren’t fantastic photographers, and have no idea how to edit a photo – must not appear very interesting in comparison. Where other accounts show a series of colour coordinated images and carefully posed and timed shots, my account is a cacophony of random images that I’ve shot very unprofessionally on my phone camera. Where they have an ‘aesthetic’, I have whatever I’ve taken a photo of at the time. Where they constantly dress in gorgeous clothing (often times made by companies they’re being sponsored by), I’m over here decked head to toe in K-Mart.
I sometimes get caught up in the fantasy of social media, because it’s hard not to. All these accounts, many of which use their influence as their sole source of income, their entire purpose is to be beautiful. Because no one wants to see ‘ugly’ things on social media. But maybe if it was more realistic, more natural, then the supposed ugliness of being an everyday human being wouldn’t appear so different, or so uninteresting.
The thing is, life doesn’t have a filter. There’s no Photoshop application for the way you see the world, no cropping out the unhappy things, no turning up the saturation on a bleak outlook. Life is a mess. But at least it’s real, and I’ll take the messy real world over the bright, clean, designer world of social media any day.