on social media

I probably care too much about my Instagram. And most people who know me can attest to that fact. I spend way too long editing pictures: choosing filters and adjusting brightness, exposure, contrast, etc. All for what?

I mean for me, it’s fun. I genuinely enjoy fiddling with multiple edits of the same picture to post on VSCO or Instagram or to post to this blog.  I really love playing around on social media. It’s a large reason why I started my own blog – to express myself online anyway I wanted to.

But at what point does it become too much? When does it turn from a creative outlet to an unhealthy obsession?

Two things have recently inspired me to write this. The first was the realization that in the span of one weekend, I have had somewhere around five separate conversations with multiple people about Instagram themes. Instagram themes. Like really? We could’ve talked about spring break plans or our lives at school but instead, we discussed Instagram themes.

And yes, I am being a bit hypocritical because I do really care about my Instagram and do worry about having an aesthetically pleasing theme. And I don’t think that there is anything wrong with the fact that I, and others, put time into Instagram. What I do think is an issue is the fact that our social media obsessions now dominate our conversations. There’s just a lot more we could be talking about.

My second wake-up call came from a recent conversation with one of my friends at school. She noted how her group chat with all of her friends from home had moved from actual conversation to a steady stream of “just posted an Instagram” and “everyone check Insta”. Who needs to actually talk to each other when you can just show your love through a double tap? Right?

Just a moment to clarify – the purpose of this article is not to hate on social media or Instagram or people who spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy on their social media presence. I am one of those people. Rather my point is to communicate that yeah, social media is a big part of a millennial’s life, but it is not the only component.

What you see on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is not a person’s entire life. They pick and choose the “best” moments to share. Most people aren’t as happy as they appear on Instagram. And if by some stroke of luck they are, it’s not 24/7. Instagram doesn’t show the ugly emotions that make us human because they are uncomfortable and hard to talk about.

And so, since Instagram shows only a snapshot of reality it would be silly to compare your entire life to someone’s carefully framed and edited timeline. It would also be silly to consume your entire life to your own feed. Go ahead and spend time crafting your feed, but also realize the fact that you are so much more than your social media presence. Your engagement with others should not revolve around what you can see and learn about them on a screen. So yeah, check Instagram if that’s what floats your boat. But then put the phone away and have a more meaningful conversation. There is so much more to people than what they post online – go find it out.

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