The instagram nation is killing us (or at least me)

July 1, 2015

Chris hates Instagram. I mean hates it with the fire of a thousand dragons.

He puts up with it for me.

After my stroke I became really particular about having pictures; pictures of the day-to-day, the mundane, the yes I do need another one of me and the cats. Losing your memory and fighting to get it back will do that to a person. You don’t want to forget anything.

Instagram became a great tool.

Last year when we were in Big Sur, Chris scrolled through the general feed on my phone and made an interesting observation, ‘You know how outfits used to be the ‘it’ thing on here to try and show you were someone? This time next year, it’s going to be vacations. I bet it’s already starting now. They’re going to be in a silent war competing for who’s going on the most expensive/exclusive vacations. You watch, it’s coming.’

Then I think he said something like, this shit is sick. Or maybe that was me. Either way, he was right.

Instagram has taken the place of traditional blogs in the realm of one-upping.

What filter are you using?
Where did you get that ________?
OMG I wanna go there! You’re so lucky!
Love your little family. Wish I had your life!
How do you afford all this stuff? #lifegoals

Everything reeks of envy and bragging. It’s sad. It’s disturbing. It’s sucking the life out of me. I don’t know what’s worse: the people boastfully (humblebraggers are the worst) posting their excessive lifestyles or the ones getting sucked into it, wishing it was them.

I mean if that’s what you want to do and what floats your boat, so be it. But how can you enjoy your own life if you’re all caught up in what everyone else is doing? Where’s the gratitude? And that goes for the ones posting the pictures, too. When is enough enough and why the compulsion to share and share and overshare? Isn’t having the means enough? I guess not. Case in point for things don’t fill the void. And please, for the love, stop trying to act like you’re just like little ol’ us while you spend $10K/month on clothing like it’s a normal thing. You’re not fooling anyone, except maybe yourself.

Yesterday I went to grab a couple slices of pizza at a little place down the street. It was lunchtime so I sat in the window to watch people walk by. I saw a girl smash into a mailbox because she was too busy getting that palm tree picture to see where she was going. I watched a dad talk to his son who never heard a word because he was checking his feed. Then there was the amateur photoshoot with the biggest ass camera lens I’ve ever been privy to. All on the sidewalk in front of the pizza place in a span of 20 minutes.

I am going to try and minimize social media this summer. I want to live in the moment, truly be present, and not incite anyone to feel badly about their personal situations. If you see me on a vacation know that I scraped for it and am photo documenting for my own memories and to share with my friends, not to humblebrag.

Most importantly, let’s be happy with the things we can do. Find joy in them. Be responsible for ourselves, but not forget about how we’re impacting others. Practice a little humility. Don’t be a dick. I don’t care if it’s Pollyanna-ish, it would help clean the space up.

*Also, hope it goes without saying but just in case:I do not mean people living their regular lives and having fun on social media. 

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  • Reply Jen July 3, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I think it must get exhausting to constantly be preoccupied with thoughts about how everything will turn out in a post online. I feel a little sad for those people. I don’t know that they can just relax and enjoy the moment or to just be yourself…It makes me think of the woman in the pool or ocean who won’t play around in the waves or duck underwater because they are afraid it’ll ruin their hair and make up.

    Frankly, those people can be pretty boring!

    That “unfollow” button works wonders! You can’t change them…but you can ignore them.

    I’m all in favor of more cat pics!

  • Reply lena July 1, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Here, here, all the damn heres! I’m truly awful at documenting our life in photos (my mother-in-law has sent me no less than 3 cameras in a futile attempt to get me to share more) but I’m always surprised by how easy I find it to get sucked into my feed. To a season (that lasts the whole year long) of enjoyment, of being in the moment, and of finding joy in our beautifully imperfect real lives, rather than the editing, carefully curated lives of others.

  • Reply Lori July 1, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I have a button I click ~ unfollow! I had a few that I was like gag ~ nope ~ can’t do that anymore. Really ~ I haven’t got time for the bragsters ~ give me all the Boston Terrier feeds ~ I am lame and old. xo

    • Reply This Free Bird July 1, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Me too! I like to see fun times and cats and interesting things. Okay, mostly cats. And I don’t begrudge anyone an indulgence here and there. It’s called life. But life isn’t when it’s splashed around like a norm or used in some sort of superiority complex. Is there a gag emoji on here?

  • Reply Rosa July 1, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I am with you. Heck, I love me some Instagram, but it has just become in terms of who gets the most expensive vacation or purse or shoes or whatever the latest crap is. I just want to instagram photos of my food and my dog and things I do around DC. It makes me happy to share those little moments.

    • Reply This Free Bird July 1, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      I’m with you, Rosa. It’s gotten way out of hand. There’s nothing wrong with having some fun and living your life, documenting those moments. Everyone’s going to go on a trip now and then or get a new thing or whatever. But when they start regularly passing off the luxury goods and over the top vacations like it’s an everyday thing I just can’t. I mean, I’m a normal person who actually works. I know how much things cost and, thanks to my line of work, approximately how much jobs pay. It’s a simple case of 1 + 1 = this grown adult is living off their parents. Haha! Um no, I’m not buying into it.

  • Reply Carey July 1, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Hear this. It is a little creepy.

    So funny; I took my mom on a trip for a belated bday thing last weekend and before we even left, I found a place online that prints little hardcover ‘Gram books. The max for a book was 38 ‘grams, and I thought, how perfect! I really want to send her home with a book of memories of our trip because no one takes pics of her, or for her. She’s always the one taking the pics and never in them. And at one point, I was like, man have I hit 38 yet? Can I apologize to the people who follow me after I do hit 38? Haha. But somethinggravy would never. It’s her bread and butter, right?

    And the scraping. I had someone ask me about the hotel I literally die to stay at, and don’t spend money on lunches to afford to stay/eat at. And the thought of this person who doesn’t have to work getting to go to this place that I cherish, just to one up me… took all the fun out of it. If she goes, I swear I’m never going back there again. On principal. Bah! Rant over.

    • Reply This Free Bird July 1, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Okay wait. You took put 38 pictures up on Instagram this weekend? Holy shit! I hope your mom had a great birthday trip. She seems like such a nice lady 🙂 And btw, you’ll only be one upped if that person stays for 3 weeks in the presidential suite. Otherwise I think she’s just visiting the hotel, so you’re still safe to go back.

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