How to Use IG with a Smile

P o s i t i v i t y (with a does of reality):

Have you heard of the acronym, “fomo”? It stands for the Fear Of Missing Out, a coined term that’s heavy in the social media world now, but where did this originate from?

Here are my un-factually based opinions on social media, the term FOMO, and the reality behind it all:

I actually remember when Instagram was used to post somewhat daily recordings of your life, whether it was a picture of you and your friends, your food, yourself, you name it - it was usually “live” in that it actually happened within the three days of posting it and it probably had a goofy filter slabbed over it. It was exciting, to share your life in photos. I was sixteen when I first got my Instagram account and I literally have never had another one since; you can scroll all the way down my feed (bless your heart if you do) and you will find the photos that are living proof of the original IG days.

Let’s skip all the way forward to today. I tend to have a lot of time to scroll through the public feed to which I have no shame in doing, however, before hearing the term FOMO, I just thought that I was experiencing the projection of my own self doubts: why wasn’t I doing something more with my everyday life too? Well, that’s when I started looking closer.

There are so many accounts, too many accounts, that have backlogs of photos, many of which are still awaiting their time to shine. What do I mean? Scroll down on a popular IG account, you’ll find a similar photo posted four months ago as the one posted today. This can lead to so many things. One - it makes it appear as if that person is always on the go, when really they are sitting behind a desk. Two - it provides a warped sense of reality. Three - they’re doing it for the ‘gram.

You have these perfect accounts that showcase what appears to be a perfect life when in reality it is all just one big show. What is going to keep their followers engaged? Keep them following the account? There’s one outdoor account that every. single. post is a picture of the girl who runs it. Is that a form of narcissism? Is it a public stance of their level of comfort with themselves?

Personally, it’s been a mental conversation for me, of how uncomfortable I feel posting a photo of my face and writing a caption to go along with it, that is actually relevant to the photo. I am guilty of not putting on the fake show for people, in fact, I have been a little too honest, a little too real, and a little to harsh. It’s been a long standing issue with me: superficiality. Ask the people I don’t talk to from high school….

Why would we want to share our genuine realities? Is it a coping mechanism for always trying to maintain the perfect life? I giggle now as I scroll through the public feed, what a ridiculous amount of photos from “perfect hikes” to “perfect campsites” to “perfect whatever”, it’s all so precisely perfect. Buy this preset and your life will look as perfect as mine!

Let it be a joke, let yourself laugh at the perfectly calculated posts. That’s not reality. Reality isn’t perfect. It’s okay if you don’t spend three hours perfecting your face for a selfie, let that pimple shine and fuck the natural lighting. It’s okay if your hike didn’t have all of the qualities that make it IG worthy, enjoy the nature that’s trying to comfort you and remember why you sought it out in the first place….not for the post.

I love the captions that have to do with “but if IG didn’t exist, would this photo?” or “would you still do it if you couldn’t post it?” basically anything that is directly related to the people who cannot stop thinking about the content for their next post. They are probably the ones making money off of the social media account but what mark of a difference are they making for society? Meh….

The most crucial factor to living happily with social media is to remember that it is usually not an accurate display of reality. It distorts reality, as my good friend Anna Cole has written on her IG bio. You’re damn right girl. Post what makes you happy, post what makes you sad, post what makes you HUMAN.