You take an amazing photo, put a filter on it, text all of your friends in a group chat to see if they like it, ask them what time they think you should post it and then patiently wait for your picture to get a bunch of likes and comments. This is all too familiar for some, and if this sounds like you, keep reading.
First off, know that you are not alone. Instagram has taken over the minds of many, and it has now become the life goal of teenagers around the world to make their feed as amazing as possible. There’s nothing wrong with this, and coordinating your Instagram feed is actually a really cool way of expressing creativity. The idea of social media, in general, is a great concept because it allows you to keep up with friends and family. The problem is when we get consumed with how many double taps, retweets or likes we receive.
Picture this: you and your family are on a beautiful vacation. You just bought new outfits that you cannot wait to take pictures in so that you can post pictures in them. This is all cool and grand, but then when you finally post that picture, you find yourself staring at your phone, constantly refreshing the page to see how many likes you received in 10 minutes. If that number is not at least 75, then you are convinced that you need to delete the picture IMMEDIATELY. You then think to yourself that the photo is too good to go to waste, so maybe you can try reposting it at a different time when your followers are more active. What happened there is that you’ve now spent your entire vacation focusing on an app.
As you’re reading this article, you may be in denial because this sounds absolutely crazy. The fact of the matter is that this obsession is highly common, and the frenzy regarding social media popularity can be subconscious. People do not necessarily realize that they are constantly refreshing their feed. It is very easy for people to shut down the app, forget that they were just on it and then re-open it three minutes later.
For some reason, we have it in our heads that if our photo does not get at least 300 likes, then we have failed as an Instagrammer. Maybe there’s a fear that people will judge us for not getting a ton of likes, but in most instances, people are not that shallow. If someone were to make a comment about your specific post, and joke about how your picture got only 218 likes, then that person’s peak in life is their social media accounts, and truthfully, that’s unfortunate.
If we took all of the energy that we use on worrying about making our Instagram perfect, and put that energy into our goals and aspirations in life, then imagine how successful we would all be. Whether a person dreams of being a lawyer or a writer, their goals will be much easier to obtain if they simply turned their focus off of their social media popularity, and focused on the beautiful life that they were given and the opportunities that lie ahead.
The point is that when we are successful in our work fields or married with children, Instagram feeds, updated profile pictures and the number of retweets on your tweet will be a distant memory. I mean really, are students paying tons of money for a college education just to get a good Instagram picture at graduation?
VALLEY wants to leave you with this: take as many photos as your heart desires, and make your social media accounts as aesthetically pleasing as you wish. Tweet funny things about your day and create new albums on Facebook filled with your life highlights. However, do not lose out on all the beautiful moments this life has to offer because you have your eyes locked on your phone out of fear that your posts will not meet the quota you were hoping for. The new person you’re romantically involved with will not stop talking to you because you didn’t get enough double taps on your photos, and your true friends (no, not your followers) will certainly not judge you either. Remember, it’s just a number; it does not define you.