I love Instagram, I really do. What's not to love? You can find pretty much everything you could possibly want in one swipe of your finger. Interested in losing weight and getting fit? There's an account for that. Looking for recipes to spice up your daily meals? You'll find plenty. I follow accounts dedicated to animals, positive body image, food, wineries, professional dirt bike riders, Hawaii, even I Love Lucy and Leonardo DiCaprio (because I have an unwavering love for both). And of course, I follow fellow bloggers and friends. In theory, it's the perfect social media platform. When I first discovered it, I had just finished deleting my Facebook, so it was a natural transition. Less drama, more inspiration. Less talk, more pictures. Less commitment...I got behind it right away.
I used it to post things that I love, and I tied it into my blog. I thought I was being clever, until I realized that most people use it for that reason too. I'm not as clever as I thought. I didn't want people to know that I had a blog, so I was careful to only use "Beautygirl24" and not my actual name. I only tried posting a handful of times per week, promising myself that I wouldn't let this app become a new obsession. Damn was I wrong. "The road to Hell is often paved with good intentions."
Okay, I'm being melodramatic. Let me explain.
I have a bad case of the Instagram effect. Or is it affect? I'm clearly being affected.
It's easy to get caught up and sort of lose yourself in social media. As a relatively quiet person, social media allows me the freedom to be who I am without fear of having "real life" conversations. I can put whatever I want out there into the ether, and if someone criticizes me, it doesn't feel as painful because it isn't a face to face exchange. That's not to say I don't get disappointed when I see my follower numbers going down, or when I'm not getting as many likes as some of my friends are. I hate that I feel like I need validation from perfect strangers. I constantly teeter between wanting to post more often, and wanting to post less. The worst part is feeling like it's one giant distraction. I check Instagram several times per day, almost aimlessly as though I'm looking for something but don't quite know what that something is. I follow about 300 accounts, a reasonable number I suppose. If I haven't checked it in a couple hours, I fear that I'm missing out on something important. I check it as soon as my eyes open every morning, a handful of times before and after lunch, in the evening, while watching television, and before I go to sleep. That's a problem isn't it? If I did this with anything else in my life, I'd probably be taken to rehab or institutionalized. Or I'd be super successful because I'd be using that time to actually get shit done rather than wasting time.
Then there's the comparison factor. Here's an actual conversation I've had with Nate:
Me: Ugh she's in Europe again! I want to go to Europe babe.
Nate: Have you figured out how we're going to get there, how we can afford it?
Me: Um, no not quite.
Nate: How can she afford to travel so much? Does she have a job 'cuz there's no way I'd get that much time off work to go travel every other month.
Me: I think she blogs full-time.
Nate: Why don't you try that?
Me: I dunno. I don't think I want to. I wouldn't be good at it.
Nate: Well, quit complaining then.
Me: Okay (keep scrolling through said blogger's feed, feeling like a sore loser).
This happens a lot. Not just with seeing others traveling the globe, but seeing people doing mundane things. Average, everyday things! How is that possible? So yes, the comparison factor is very very real and I know everyone must feel it at some point. As much as I root for people being happy and successful, it's difficult when you feel like you're not living up to your own potential. It's easy to get down on yourself.
So I'm trying to take mini breaks from social media, even if just for a day. Hell even if it's just for a few hours! I still love Instagram, I really do. But there's life outside of it. Thank God.