Bit late with my post this week – I’ve been trying to post every Sunday, but last weekend I was away with family for a mini break in Devon. As you would expect from such a rural setting, there was a serious lack of phone signal and a little more unexpectedly, WiFi too – several of us struggled with the lack of connectivity! You never realise quite how much you check your social media feeds until you can’t.. which got me thinking..
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Why I used to hate Instagram….and why I’ve re-embraced social media!
I used to have a love/hate relationship with social media. I’ve been using various sites (starting with Myspace and Bebo, old-school!) for 10 years now, but I’ve never been one to post much myself – I never wanted to be one to ‘overshare’. I always looked down on people who were constantly posting on Facebook – I thought they were just needy, or trying to make out that their lives were more interesting than they actually were.
I became increasingly annoyed by trivial and mundane updates from people I barely knew, clogging up my feed and preventing me from seeing what my actual friends were up to. Some dull but necessary time spent honing my privacy settings has since (mostly) sorted this issue. Still, I’m uncomfortably aware of the effect it has on our relationships – how many times have you dropped an ‘Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook!’ into conversation? Sometimes I feel like I spend less time discussing a friend’s weekend because I already knew what they got up to.
Meeting one person, the sibling of a friend, sticks in my mind. They were very prolific on social media. They had added me on Facebook (through which I could also see their Instagram) despite the fact I had never directly met them. When I actually talked to them for the first time, I felt quite awkward and inhibited in some parts of our conversation – I already ‘knew’ so much. I’d seen intimate pictures of their holiday. I didn’t need to hear about their house renovations, because (without even trying) I’d already been exposed to it all.
My misgivings around social media extended to Instagram when I first joined a few years ago. Influenced by my experiences on Facebook, I saw Instagram as a place for attention-seeking selfies and heavily filtered images depicting seemingly perfect lives. I associated it with people who spent all their time on their phone rather than living in the moment. Judging by the internet, I think this is still a commonly held opinion by non-Instagram/Snapchat/etc users!
Then, just recently, I went back on Instagram and saw it differently. It’s not all grainy selfies and contrived shots of food. There are some absolutely beautiful photos on there. One of my favourite feeds is IGers Bristol, which often celebrates very talented photographers, however amateur they may be.
Mainly, I think I just grew up. I can appreciate Instagram for what it is, and I don’t care if people think I’m being materialistic or narcissistic. If I take a selfie (at the time of writing I am yet to post one) I want to look as flippin’ good as possible. Even if it takes an hour plus of hair styling and make-up to achieve that beforehand…
For me, it’s not just about sharing.Yes, I really enjoy looking at other people’s images, but it’s also the process that’s enjoyable. I’ve seen complaints that Instagram ‘isn’t art’ and ‘doesn’t make you a photographer’ – but there’s still a bit of skill involved in taking a good shot. It’s fun to ‘create’ something that is aesthetically pleasing, or just create a record (hopefully both!).
So I’m very late to the game…but Instagram is currently my favourite social media platform! I’d be really interested to hear if anyone else has changed their views in a similar way 🙂