Why am I so obsessed with Instagram?
All I need in life are my family, friends and the Valencia filter
I ask myself the same question each time I robotically open the app: why do I care so much about this? Every day I scroll past hundreds of filtered photos, girls beaming with their friends in skimpy bikinis on the beach, boys proudly displaying a mediocre fish they caught, relatable memes about sleeping in or drinking too much – it’s as if I’m seeing the same picture over and over.
But even still, I find myself haphazardly scrolling through Instagram, checking my follow requests and stalking anyone who’s worth a few minutes of my time. But a few minutes can very quickly turn into a few hours, and before I know it I’m 152 weeks into a stranger’s profile accidentally liking pictures of them from freshman year of high school. I scold myself often for this. “It shouldn’t matter,” I tell myself. “Why do I care so much about this girl?”
Sometimes myself and all my friends sit around and scrutinize a girl’s Instagram, and the comments are rarely ever positive. Whether we’re ridiculing a prom dress or a relationship, we always seem to be complaining about some aspect of some girl’s profile. I am not ashamed to admit this because I know nearly every girl has done it. We take our jealousy and our anger out on others, and we channel it into a brutal stalking fest. We look at our ex-boyfriend’s new interest and roll our eyes at her followers to following ratio, laughing manically at her overly edited face in that one picture of her at that one party.
For me, that is what this app has become. A quick, easy way to investigate anyone you might have even the slightest interest in. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve mentioned someone to a friend and have their response be “wait what’s their Instagram?” It’s almost as if a person isn’t really a person until they’ve confirmed it through an app that’s name used to mean absolutely nothing. How is it that a little box informing me that I’ve received 56 new likes is able to bring me confidence and satisfaction? Should such a materialistic, artificial thing even be allowed?
It’s sad, a little scary even. I find myself haggling over my captions long before the photo exists. When I don’t post anything for more than two weeks I begin to grow anxious. What if people think I don’t have a life? What if they unfollow me? These questions, and their answers, are hilariously unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Your life online has nothing to do with your life in reality, right? In this day and age, the answer has become complicated. Did you really go to Niagara Falls if you didn’t post a picture of the stunning waterfall? Did you really spend the afternoon on your friends boat if you didn’t post a picture of yourself shotgunning on it?
This app has become a way for me to showcase my lifestyle, and dress it up or down as I please. Naturally, I want people to think I’m living the dream. I broadcast the food, the beaches, the concerts, the friends and parties whenever I get the chance. Is it right to experience these things this way? Is it right to seek validation and literal “likes” from others in everything I do? I’m not sure, I’ll have to post something about it and see what my followers think.