Instagram vs Reality

‘In the past, people have looked at photos as a record of memory. The focus has been on the past tense. With Instagram, the focus is on the present tense’ – Kevin Systrom

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Instagram. Arguably my favourite social media platform at the moment, I particularly enjoy reading everyone’s insta stories in the bath. And I can spend hours inanely scrolling through all the glorious filtered images of holiday sunsets, pre night out mirror selfies, my friends kids, and I mean, who doesn’t love a cocktail boomerang?

I recently did a digital detox which really made me take a step back and evaluate my social media usage; particularly the ‘gram, which I use far more than any other social platform. But it was starting to take over my life a little bit. I was starting to care too much about who was reading what, who was following or unfollowing, who had clearly muted me and whether or not I was being completely myself on there. I was also given the heads up that someone had been saying I was ‘flaunting my lavish lifestyle’ online #rollofeyes. Had I fallen into the trap of being an insta-wanker?

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I sit firmly on the fence about whether or not it’s ok to be a bit one sided or show offy online. I was thinking about this a lot on my recent holiday to Thailand. Yes my Insta feed was all cocktails by the pool, sunsets on the beach and eating char grilled scorpions, which I’m unapologetic about because we work bloody hard for those treats. Did I post a picture of the 45 minutes I spent shaking in the toilets before an anxiety ridden presentation I had to give 2 weeks into my new job? My new job which, incidentally, enabled us to afford this holiday? Did I take a picture of the strop I threw on night 2 in Phuket when I was suffering severe chub rub and the hotel was too far away from then centre of town (#firstworldproblems)? No. I didn’t. Should I have? I’m not sure. Because I don’t want to remember those moments. I want to remember the cocktails by the pool. Because those are the things I appreciate. I also don’t want the world knowing what a bratty princess I am when I’m tired either. That joy is reserved for my friends and family.

On a more serious note, I’m not really one for encouraging or engaging in the negative as I have a bad habit of letting negative thoughts hang around my head for too long. If I posted all the shitty stuff as well as the good stuff it keeps it alive and out there so only posting good stuff, for me is about reminding myself of all the positives. I guess coming across as self righteous or that I’m bragging is just and unhappy side affect of the culture of putting yourself out there online and making your life more accessible.

I took the decision to block a few people online this year (on twitter and insta), who were coming at me overly aggressively or nit picking over petty things. Blocking people isn’t something I like doing because I don’t like to appear to be closing myself off to anyone or that I have anything to hide. But then I kind of realised that it’s not about that. If I block someone it doesn’t mean I’m being petty, or childish, that they’ve gotten the better of me or that they’ve ‘won’ it just means I’m prioritising my sanity by not letting their negativity infiltrate my happy little life.

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I know that social media jealousy is a real thing and I’m not trying to make light of the fact that people can be made to feel bad about themselves because they’re comparing themselves to what other people post online. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting the best version of yourself on social media, in the same way that a girl will wear make up to look her best when she goes out. But there’s everything wrong with believing that what you see online is 100% of someone’s multi faceted personality .

The way I try and figure it all out in my head so as not to go completely insane by the pretentiousness of it all is remembering this:

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they’re all just modern versions of photo albums in my eyes. Things kept and preserved for prosperity. The only difference is they’re a little more public than the old albums we had as a child which were made to look like a collection of the Encyclopedia Britannica. You never took picture of the time you got a very severe case of Delhi belly in India and simultaneously vomited and shat yourself * because it’s bad enough that you remember that low point in life, let alone need photographic evidence of it.

After all, if you find someone’s Facebook or Insta feeds are verging on the narcissistic or self indulgent, and you just find yourself rolling your eyes when you see a new post, you can always unfollow…

See my narcissistic self indulgent social channels here….

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

  • got the ok from my dad to say that so we’re cool.

5 Comments

  1. Samantha Rickelton November 14, 2018 / 9:14 am

    I sometimes post negative things on Social Media because I like to remind everyone that the bad stuff happens to us too as I am very conscious that posting family day out after family day out and multiple holidays can be a little ‘perfect’ and too much for some people. If I wasn’t so conscious about not portraying a ‘perfect’ life on social media, would I still post the negative photos, text and blog posts too? I’m not so sure.

    BUT in a way, I also don’t understand that mindset. I’ve never been one to suffer with social media jealousy or FOMO and when I see a nice photo the only thought in my head is ‘oh they look like they’re having a lovely time’. Why can’t we all just think that!!

    Sorry you had to resort to blocking. It sucks but is probably for the best. As a side note three people have blocked me (that I know of!!) this week – I guess we all can’t please everyone.

    I never in a million years would see your insta feed as showy-offy. It definitely keeps it real and is fun 🙂 xxx

    • honestlyhelen
      Author
      November 14, 2018 / 9:20 am

      Ahh thanks Sam that’s so lovely. I agree it’s hard to find a balance and I’m like you, seeing other people’s posts doesn’t bother me because I know they’re just posting the highlights. I try a change it up a bit if I post an outfit pic I’ll but ‘the truth’ on stories but even then do people really need to know I’m feeling fat for the millionth time?! I *hate* blocking people but I just can’t be chewed with the negativity so they had to go!

  2. Mandy November 14, 2018 / 9:30 pm

    Okay so, I’m very much about being completely me and super authentic, I write all of the good stuff along with the bad stuff because that’s what my life is and I need people to know what it’s like living with mental health issues. In saying that I don’t have issues with anyone posting positive things on social media, I’m all over people being happy, posting pretty places and beautiful lives. It’s rare I have issues with anyone 🤣 although I know the same can’t be said the other way around but I don’t understand that either. Just be happy and keep doing what you’re doing, I think you’re a really lovely authentic and without being punny, honest.

  3. Lauren Bennett November 14, 2018 / 9:31 pm

    Well done Helen! Fantastic blog post that hits stage social media nail right on the head! I love your insta and your blog … You just do you!!! Xx

  4. newgirlintoon November 15, 2018 / 6:44 am

    Really well thought out blog post as always Helen! My Instagram is definitely the more “perfect” side of my life and whilst I’m not flying around the world taking perfect images I definitely share all of the cakes and happy times rather than the sad, arguing eating broccoli days! LOL! I don’t really know why!

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