Here I go on another rant about my love/hate relationship with Instagram…but stay with me.
Let’s go back 6 or so years; Instagram is birthed and, correct me if I’m wrong, but it began with us posting a photo every week or so to document a nice occasion for the eyes of our close friends and family. The photos were not well taken, and we all got a little bit over-excited with the filters.
Since then it’s attracted budding photographers, stylish mummas showing off their brand-repping children, famous people promoting themselves, bloggers and of course, businesses. I would now say that a good third of the people I follow are trying to sell me something. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting small businesses, but it’s getting to the stage where my feed is basically a very pretty advert break. It’s incredibly subtle too. A lot of what you see is people being sponsored to promote something…normal people like us, who can style and photograph things well. They got it for free but now you want it. Clever folks, very clever. Sometimes it’s not even anyone trying to sell you anything, it’s just people showing off their pretty stuff and that makes you want it too.
Each day I’m lured into thinking that I need it all. I can’t afford to, but I’m longing to buy more stuff in order to complete a certain look. And when I realise I can’t have it, or that it just doesn’t look the same on me or in my home, I feel dissatisfied and a bit glum that I’m not able to keep up the with Jones’ (I mean the Instagrammers).
This surely effects most of us; there’s an Instagram world for which ever sub-culture you have a preference for. Whether you associate with and follow the health/fitness world, the baby-wearing/all- natural world, the monochrome/cactus world, the adidas all-black-wearing urban world…or whatever it is for you! The more people we follow from the sub-culture we’ve chosen, the more our insta-feeds start blurring into one long scroll of similar looking photos. And the more pressure there is to get the latest thing that will further buy into that world.
There’s even a need to keep up with how we Instagram. How we take photos, position things, how many likes we get, what our ‘insta-style’ is and how our over-all feed comes across compared to others. Even if we aren’t selling anything!
So…going deep here for a second, I reckon this all stems from a basic desire in us to ‘belong’ and ‘fit in’ with something and someone (even if it’s people we may have never met before!). Which isn’t wrong, but can seriously feed our comparison issues. It can make us feel pressure to have our home a certain way and to make sure our outfits, our kid’s outfits and even our coffee shop choices, are en-trend. It can make us forget what we actually like, whilst the desperate desire to ‘fit in and be the same’ takes over.
Now this isn’t a criticism against sellers – I get it, we’re all trying to make a living. This is a reminder for insta-browsers: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY EVERYTHING EVERYONE ELSE HAS. It doesn’t make you less ‘anything’, and you will survive if you don’t have it all.
Also: TRY NOT TO COMPARE. It’s actually ok to be different from one another. And remember not everything you see is a representation of reality. See my post here about my thoughts on that!
The truth is, not all of us are on two high-income salaries. Not all of us can start, or buy from businesses selling wooden toys that cost more than my car. If it’s helpful to anyone, here are some things my feed doesn’t communicate about my life to help you remember what is more normal.
- Our home is 80% Ikea, 20% donated.
- We cannot afford boutique or independent the majority of the time.
- We eat all things gluten, dairy and sugar.
- I have about three outfits that vaguely fit into some sort of current fashion style. The rest are a mis-match of charity shop finds, a result of clothes swops, or dare I say it…car boots. As are most of the kids things.
- Our house is full of plastic, ugly toys and lots of piles of small random bits that my daughter won’t let me throw out.
- We have mould growing on our walls that despite every attempt…keeps.coming.back.
- We don’t have a Nutri-bullet, Smeg fridge, AGA, exposed brick wall or log burner. I kill cactus’ and I don’t like copper.
So here I am surrendering to the fact that I cannot keep up with the Instagrammers.
Thankfully…I think I’ll survive to tell the tale.