Is it true that we all just secretly hate Instagram?

On an app where likes are currency, it's ironic that people sometimes feel the opposite of "like" at the end of a two-hour IG session.

One of the most popular opinions about Instagram is that very little of what we see on there is "real" and that the lifestyles portrayed on the photo-sharing platform are just not sustainable.

This is the reason why we have often heard people say they feel too poor to have an Insta account or they feel like they aren't doing anything with their lives.

I have even read (and I'm sure you have too) many a column about how Instagram is one of the main reasons why people feel unhappy about the progress they are making in life. 

Read more: My Instagram life was a lie

But if this is how so many people feel about this app, why on earth do we keep finding ourselves on IG three times a day with meals (that we post) as if our health depends on it?

Are we self-loathing or do we just have too much too much data to spare?

I know why I use IG more often than any other app on my phone (with the exception of Whatsapp) - I just really enjoy looking at well-dressed, good looking people from literally all over the world, eating beautifully garnished food served in impractically small portion sizes.

I also really appreciate the fact that Instagram is an online creative hub that just churns out new content every day, (while painfully chowing the dear life out of your data).

We're comparing representations and carefully curated lifestyles to what we know about our realities.

Not forgetting the fact that you can use IG stories to post something as silly as a Snapchat import of you rapping along to Drake lyrics (that will disappear in 24 hours) because life isn't always that serious. Or at least it doesn't have to be.

And the other thing about Instagram is that you're actually not obliged to follow anyone who makes you feel some typa way about your life. 

So maybe I don't hate Instagram. I might actually even be a little addicted to Instagram.

But I am also guilty of sometimes feeling like my posts could do with an extra sprinkle of lavish or maybe even feature an international location just once.

Or sometimes asking myself how come only a fraction of the people who follow me liked my post. "Did my other followers hate the lighting?"

We sit stressing and overthinking about... likes. This little thing.

GIPHY

Look at it. Is it really that impressive?

Perhaps not, but it's a symbol of recognition and validation - something many users of this photo-sharing platform crave every now and then.

You finally went to New York after months of saving up and you want to let your followers know. You got a new hairstyle and you want to take a snap of it while it's still fresh. 

And that's okay.

Besides, we've all dipped a toe or two in the pool of all that is lavish and liked it.

So why then do we feel bad about ourselves when we see someone else doing it?

The answer lies in the toxicity of comparison - so-and-so looks like they're doing much better than you and now you're suddenly in your feels over a well lit 1080px by 1080px picture.

But it's not even comparisons of full pictures (unfortunate pun) - we're comparing representations and carefully curated lifestyles to what we know about our realities.

People find themselves in the trap of constantly trying to keep up with the high resolution displays of their lives.

This Instagram angst has even spilled over into other areas of our lives such as work.

An article on Fashionista.com explored how Instagram may be ruining our lives, where the editor-in-chief, Alyssa Vingan Klein opened up about how the fact that she doesn't have a "respectable" follower count makes her feel uneasy about how this may affect her career both currently and in the future.

A fear which their editorial director, Dhani Mau confirmed when she pointed out how often people get overlooked for jobs which they are clearly qualified for because they lack a "socially acceptable" number of followers.

(This is of course in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries.)

This sort of pressure catalysed by all this talk of "building your brand" is kind of taking the fun out of just posting a photo because you had a good day or because you like your latest purchase.

And it has created a discord between our online personas and offline realities to some degree, where people find themselves in the trap of constantly trying to keep up with the high resolution display side of their lives.

So maybe it's not the app that we hate, but rather all the unnecessary anxiety and pressure the people who use this social media platform have brought along with it.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on W24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of W24.

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