“Ok, everybody freeze! This has to go on Instagram!”
With more and more parents and grandparents joining Facebook to get closer to their friends and family members, a growing number of (US) teens is declaring Instagram to be the new IT online platform. Fair enough.
I got Instagram about six months ago and use it occasionally. However, when I scrolled through my uploaded set of photos today, I started to realize how Instagram is taking self-presentation to a completely new level. What are the things you instagram? I was very honest to myself and realized something: I take pictures of the cherry tree blooming outside my window and #valencia makes it look even brighter. I take selfies (yes, that happened) of me in cute outfits or of me in the sun laughing and #earlybird somehow eliminates the spots in my face and adds a glow to my smile. My food looks amazing with #sutro and suddenly I seem to detect art at every corner.
But let me give you the shocking truth: My hair is not always falling smoothly over my shoulders. I do not spend all day every day standing under palm trees holding a starbucks upwards to the sky. My life is not always #sflove #allnewfriends #yolo. There is also a whole lot of #studying #fml #midtermstress #shitimbroke and #worryingaboutthefuture going on. In fact, more than anything else really. People don’t instagram when they’re sick in bed with a fever- except when their bed sheets are really cute or their PJ’s say something funny. We don’t instagram our nights alone binging on ice cream and Dorritos or take selfies the morning after a rough party- except if we want to impress our followers with our #partyhard attitude.
I think Instagram has a lot of staged presence going on. Nonetheless, I use it. It makes life prettier. Makes me notice the little things in my everyday. I mean, it’s a whole platform full of awesome pictures of pretty landscapes, pretty jewelry, pretty people, mouthwatering food, joyous social events and more delicious food! And I am of that age where I can distinguish between the things people upload and the way they actually live their life. But I can imagine that my 14-year-old host sister might not be able to draw the same conclusions. So, I think it’s really important to keep one thing in mind: All is not gold that glitters! Just like we shouldn’t get intimidated by what friends and ex-college companions post on Facebook about their glorious jobs, families and social lives, we shouldn’t get too caught up by beautifully arranged instagram pictures. After all, I bet even a pile of dog poop could look romantic with Amaro!