Comparison and Judgment on Instagram
An invite on a press trip to Iceland was an easy thing to say yes to, and as someone who had only left the country twice in her adult life, is something I did not take for granted. Shortly after things went into motion, I realized I’d be traveling with a group of people I didn’t know very well, so I did what anyone would do before spending time with someone new. I started doing a little “research” online. Via instagram.
And do you know what I learned about my travel mates aside from what they wear, where they brunch, or where they’ve traveled to?
It was all of this that inspired my recent instablog post where I dispelled a few things about my own account.
So let’s clear the air. I edit almost all of my photos in vsco and/or snapseed. Some, like this one, are shot with my Mark iii or Fuji x100t. I went to Europe (for the first time) in 2012, didn’t leave the country again until last month, and took my first vacation without a laptop last year. The opportunity to visit Iceland is one I don’t take for granted, and my travel schedule is far from typical right now. I have never made buddy cross his paws and couldn’t if I wanted to, but do ask him questions to get him to perk his ears up for photos. There were relationships I didn’t post about before Conor because they weren’t worth sharing and I dealt with a lot of family drama while I was in LA. I love my West Elm linen sheets and no, they weren’t gifted by the brand. I bought them. Most days consist of me answering email at my computer in workout clothes and yes, I definitely move (small) things around to get the right shot, and my apartment is actually as clean and organized as it looks 95% of the time. And no, I don’t spend all day cleaning. Lastly, it’s 4am in Iceland and I can’t sleep so tomorrow’s gonna be a long one.
A little self doubt and comparison can bring you down, so remember that there’s more to everyone than what you see on Instagram. I promise to do my best to keep it real between the pretty posts but since I’m in Iceland, here’s another one of these beauties.
And this got me thinking. When we follow someone online that we don’t actually know in person, we’re forced to make assumptions about who they are and what their lives must be like. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done it a number of times. They have a dream job, an insane wardrobe, travel the world, and have and a perfect life. It is so important that we remember that instagram is where we post the pretty, fun, and sometimes curated moments of our lives. Take this morning’s post. I clearly don’t lay my clothes out on a faux sheepskin every time I get dressed but it looks pretty on instagram, doesn’t it?
Some people, like my friends Jess Lively and Jenna Kutcher, are very open with their followers, and I love them both for that. In the past few months, each shared personal life updates (a divorce and miscarriage) but they didn’t share those updates the second they happened, so there were days or weeks when no one knew what was going on.
There’s nothing wrong with only sharing the good, but for me, it’s the real posts that help others, and that’s something that is very important to me. They bring a little reality to these seemingly perfect moments and feeds. I’ll be the first to admit that mothers and fathers day posts always get me and make me feel like I’m the only person in the world who isn’t close with their parents, so sharing what I’ve gone through might help someone going through something similar. Back in my 20s when I was feeling lost and really struggling, I got through it by telling myself I’d figure everything out and one day, inspire someone with my story. I just didn’t know it would happen online
We see people’s feeds as a representation of who they are, and it’s important that we remember that instagram is just a peek–a glimpse–into what someone chooses to share with their followers. It’s where we share the pretty, fun, and sometimes memorable moments. Some real and others curated. I love neutrals and my little rescue dog, but there’s so much more to me, and to all of us, than that.