• Patrick McAndrew

The Instagram Facade

I talk a lot about Facebook on this blog.  Facebook this.  Facebook that.  I don’t think I’ve been giving Instagram enough love.  What’s up, Instagram!!

Living in New York City has been a great experience.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from many different backgrounds and several walks of life.  I was recently talking to a good friend of mine.  He doesn’t live in New York but has a friend of his from college who does.  Let’s call her Frankie.

I was telling my friend that, while New York is a great city, it is a very expensive place to live.  This is no secret.  New York City came up as the second most expensive city to live in in the country, just after San Francisco (tech friends, what up!).  My friend agreed and told me that Frankie lives with thousands of dollars in credit card debt!  “Hold on there, slugger!”  Yes indeed.  Frankie is carrying well over five digits in credit card debt.

“Why?” my friend asked.  Frankie told him that its necessary to live this way in New York City.  You have to go out to eat, you have to get drinks, you have to buy the best clothes, you have to buy the best accessories.  Before you know it, you are in debt.  This, of course, is a generalization.  Not ALL people live this way, but I have confirmed from several other sources that many do.  This is not a stand-alone case.  I’ve heard similar stories with people living in cities like Los Angeles or London, where highlighting your status and prestige is more important than your financial well-being.

Our good friend, Instagram, only expedites this issue.  We display ourselves the way we want the world to see us, even if it is not our authentic selves.  We are consumed with snapping the best photo and looking ritzy and glamorous instead of living in the moment.  I’m all for taking photos and sharing memories, but it becomes a problem if our lives are consumed by what we post, what others post, and how we respond and react to each.

I stumbled upon this video on YouTube that accurately portrays the Instagram Façade.  Part of me thinks it is an exaggeration, but is it really?

Who are we looking to impress when we post pictures of things that have no substantial value?  Perhaps everyone values things differently and so if we post everything then someone will like something.  I like photos of loved ones or friends.  I enjoy seeing people having a good time together, so you can count on a like from me (though not on Instagram…I don’t have one).  But if you post a photo of your food or toes in the sand, I don’t know what that’s doing for any of us.

Do we post these things because we think people will actually be interested?  Or are we trying to project how awesome our lives are?  Who knows!  But I do believe that, whether we try or not, Instagram is a façade which literally filters our lives to compete with those other lives we see on the screen.  Perhaps Instagram is a competition?  Ah…now I’m just thinking on paper.

We are drawn to photos.  It gives us a visual perspective that we can gain from a person or experience.  Instagram has allowed these photos to be altered significantly and we humans cannot help but compare our lives to those of others.  Many are so focused on receiving the most likes on their photos that they barely even care about the photos their friends are posting.  I’ve heard that it’s even a thing to purchase Instagram followers so we appear more popular.  That doesn’t sound quite right and cannot be good for us in the long run.  Whatever the future holds with Instagram, we just need to be mindful of our behavior.  I’m all for sharing photos.  It’s fun seeing what people are up to.  Just don’t get caught up in it all or unknowingly attach your self-worth to how many followers you have.  Be authentic and try to avoid the Instagram Façade.

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