|The very first photo I ever posted on Instagram.|
Since then, Instagram has evolved and become this social media monster, and managing Instagram accounts has even become a huge part of my job.
Because I work in social media and manage multiple accounts for different companies, I’ve had to curate my own personal brand. How you present yourself on social media is really important in my line of work, because it shows that I have an understanding of multiple platforms, as well as gives people a look into who I am, outside of my resume. In the interest of keeping things professional, I started a second Instagram account, which was more centred around my blog. I kept my personal Instagram page private, and figured I’d post a lot more of my IRL moments there, without worrying about a) a beautiful-looking feed and b) potential clients seeing it.
While managing two accounts for myself wasn’t difficult, it did become a chore. I was so fixated with the blog feed I had created, that I found myself scouting locations to eat, shop, etc—all so the photos I’d inevitably take in those locations would be in line with my “never not in black” aesthetic. People were beginning to post about how Instagram made them unhappy, and I just read through and thought, “If you truly live your life authentically, you wouldn’t feel this way,” completely ignoring the fact that I was becoming one of those people. I always took pride in being a “what you see (online) is what you get (IRL)” type of person, but more and more, that was becoming untrue.
|What my Instagram feed looked like in 2016.|
//www.instagram.com/embed.jsI really really liked this outfit, and I liked the photo as well, but no matter how many filters I put on it, the reality was the the tones just weren’t right for my feed. This meant that I probably wouldn’t be able to post it. The idea that I “couldn’t” or “shouldn’t” post a photo because it wasn’t desaturated enough, or taken in front of an all-white background made me feel, frankly, like a fucking idiot. Why did I care so much? Why did it really matter? Who was actually looking and critiquing my feed as brutally as I was?
The second catalyst for my Instagram epiphany was the app’s ridiculous algorithm. I have just over 2,000 followers, which is peanuts, in the grand, Instagram scheme of things. The algorithm has been making it difficult for influencers with even tens of thousands of followers to grow, much less people like myself with a tiny following. I’d always said that blogging was just a way for me to write about the silly stuff that I want. Now, I was abandoning the blog, and only thinking of blog posts that would allow me to take photos which were fitting for my Instagram. What?
The third catalyst was THIS article I read on CBC—most notably, this quote from the article:
“The irony in this is that people’s Finsta accounts tend to be more real or authentic, because they’re intended just for close friends, whereas Rinstas, the “real” accounts, are more highly curated for public view.”
It just seems to me, that if authenticity is your true goal on social media, that you should be just that. There is a way to be authentic and professional, and if you think that you can’t be authentic and be professional at the same time, there may be a broader issue at hand, than just what you should/shouldn’t be posting on social media.
The fourth, and final, catalyst was the realization that social media was making my real life seem less fun. So many things have happened to me in the last year alone, and I didn’t want to out myself in a situation where I couldn’t enjoy myself and be in the moment because I was too concerned about taking photos, and what they’d look like, relative to my Instagram feed. At the end of the day, I want to remember things from real photos, and not ones that I cropped and edited to fit my feed’s aesthetic. I also want to draw a hard line between who I am and what I do for a living. Constantly concerning myself with my Instagram aesthetic was really stunting that process, and so I decided to put it all out there on one public feed.
At the end of the day, I have many, larger fish to fry, and worrying about Instagram just doesn’t seem worth it.
And that’s that.