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Monday, 24 April 2017

How Instagram Effects My Self Esteem

I have a bit of a funny relationship with social media. Some days I feel lucky that I live in a time where it so easy to keep in touch with people all over the world, some days I feel like I want it all to go away, and we could go back to socialising the way people did 20 years, where to keep in touch with someone you had to actually make an effort. I could go on about this subject for days (probably) but today I'm going to focus on one platform in particular - Instagram. I've chosen this one because this is the platform that effects my self image the most.

Some pics from my Instagram page

I don't want this post to be all "I hate Instagram it's so bad blah blah blah" because I think it's a brilliant app for people who want to share their photography or give others an insight into their lives. Recently though, I've been thinking more and more about what seems to be expected of the users of Instagram.

The way I see it is that Instagram is becoming more and more like a magazine. There plenty of content to keep you interested and engaged, but there's also a lot of pictures that make you think and feel as though you're supposed to look a certain way. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm aware that most of the people in those pictures don't look like that in real life, I know that they've taken the pictures at flattering angles, filtered the fuck out of them and then, in some cases, photoshopped them or edited them to some degree. But it seems that you have to make your selfies look a certain way in order to maximise the amount of 'likes' you get. So when I take a selfie (which is still done at the most flattering angle I can manage) and I only get, say, 20 or so likes compared to the hundreds of likes some other girls get, despite me using all the relevant hashtags I can think of... well, that kinda makes me feel ugly and unattractive, because not as many people like the way I look. I hope this is all making sense so far.
The last selfie I uploaded to Instagram before this post, pre-filter application

I remember when I first started using Instagram a few years ago, I barely used it because I saw it merely as a photo sharing app and at the time I didn't really take a lot of pictures. Without sounding too pretentious, I was always too busy enjoying the moment to remember to take pictures. Now that I'm making an attempt at blogging and getting deeper down the social media rabbit hole, I'm beginning to feel the pressure that I'm sure plenty of others feels when they're trying to get their content out into the open. It almost feel like you're competing with everyone else in order to get attention, when it shouldn't feel that way.

Maybe I shouldn't pay attention to the number so much, maybe how I feel is a reflection of my own insecurities. But then again, surely there's not only me who feels like this? Surely there must be other people out there who find that they're constantly comparing themselves to strangers and feeling like they're not living up to some sort of societal standard. I believe social media in general has a lot to answer for in how a lot of people view themselves these days but that's a discussion for another day.

I'm sorry if this came off a bit whiny, I guess I just needed to get my thoughts out somewhere. How do you guys feel about Instagram and social media in general?

Stacey Rose xx

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