Instagram vs Reality
While Instagram content is peer-generated and therefore has the potential to be useful, much of it is heavily staged and unreal. Many hours are spent coordinating lighting, getting the right perspective, taking several images, and adding filters or Photoshop in order to provide the best possible representation of themselves.
As a result, the Instagram universe seems to be populated mostly by people who, in contrast to the spectator, seem to have apparently flawless bodies, perfect lives, and perfect relationships.
Instagram is not real life but that is not a problem for many users.
Instagram is not true, but I believe that is fine as long as we keep some perspective. Everyone’s highlight reels are being shown to us. We’re displaying highlight reels from our own performances. This is something I’m guilty of as well, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
We want to recall and emphasize the wonderful moments, not just the negative ones. That’s why I’ll share a shot of Jack and me having fun at a concert but not either of us in the middle of an argument.
I also don’t want to shame my girls, so I don’t want to share pictures of them being mad or crying, so any picture you’ll see of them will be stoic at best. For the love of yours, theirs, and mine. Nobody needs to see an Instagram footage of a tantrum, you know?
When we post less-than-stellar content, we call it “absolute”, but we still limit how much of it we share.
When our water pump broke and flooded our basement, I posted the picture on the left, but I took this shot after hours and hours of work. I didn’t take a picture of myself standing in three inches of filthy water, my socks dangling around my ankles.
That was the point at which I traced the line. The shot on the right was taken at a wedding that we attended.
It was taken by a friend in between our efforts to pose nicely for the camera. We thought it was hilarious when we saw it. So I’m making an unappealing smile, but my hair is done, I don’t have a funny double chin, and Jack is cheerful, so I posted it. That’s when I traced the line. See what I mean? And when we say we’re keeping it true, we’re not always keeping it that real.
I think Instagram is a beautiful thing, as long as I note that the picture that has me writhing in lust is a one-second snapshot out of 86,400 seconds in a day. That we are all lucky people who admire other blessed people because we have access to clean water, good health, and protection. I want to let the images inspire me rather than cause me to be dissatisfied or feel bad.