You are worth more than your latest post!
When I first started using instagram a few years back, I was interested in it because it was a way for me to easily make photos "beautiful" and share with friends. As a Creative, it was more about sharing something that I thought others would find value and joy in; not a means to boost my self-esteem or meet potential suitors. Yet as time passed, I realized my instagram feed was filled with more and more meaningless photos, screenshots of text, or downright poorly captured images. Capturing a beautiful, well composed picture can't be that hard right? WRONG. My insta network grew and the beauty slowly faded: and a predicament followed: Unfollow friends that lack an artistic eye, and clean up my viewing experience a bit... or simply give in to the new path instagram had forged. I ended up leaving my account as is and not deleting anyone. Why you might ask.... well because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings and to an extent, I did value the ability to stay up to date with folks. And let's be real, people get legitimately upset if you "unfollow" them on social media, as if you can no longer be friends in real life. This to me, is a problem. Instagram is no longer a place where I see a plethora of meaningful images enticing me to screenshot them to save for myself, and more a place where people post selfies, memes, or notepad screenshots to gain attention and attempt to boost their self worth. SAD.
You are worth more than the bytes of data that are your latest selfie, manicure photo, or outfit of the day ... which ALL equate to a tiny fraction of your life. There is so much more to YOU that an image cannot capture, and it is sad that this is where a lot of people have ended up; franticly anticipating a notification update from their social media accounts. Rather than seeing social media as a means of sharing, it has morphed into a means of OVER-SHARING and receiving praise. Sometimes it makes me laugh how many people are so caught up in how many likes or comments their photos get, that they might even take the photo down if it doesn't get enough attention or break that lovely threshold where the "likers" names are accumulated into a total number... laughable....sad, but laughable. Now don't get me wrong, I think instagram is a great tool for individuals AND brands and I am slowly learning to accept it for what it is: a way to keep up with your "friends" lives, share your life across multiple platforms at once, get some outfit ideas, see what a celebrity ate for lunch, and maybe just maybe come across some meaningful media that you would like to revisit later..... cue screenshot. Now I am not immune, I too am guilty of the occasional selfie or sneaker post, but I recognize this trend and often ask myself "where has the meaningful media migrated to if its no longer what we are broadcasting via a timeline or feed?"
Perhaps you have been able to keep your instagram feed tapered to what you actually are interested in. But like I mentioned earlier, this can be tough on people's feelings now a days. And the more I think about it, maybe people actually are sharing what they find meaningful and valuable.... but if that's the case... I am still concerned and mildly frightened with what our society considers value.
(Feb 20) Right now (in 5 major cities), there are more than 79 million photos on Instagram that fall under #selfie. This is not counting #selfies (7 million photos), #selfienation (1 million photos), #selfiesfordays (400,000 photos) or the countless number of photos with no hashtag at all. -Liz Stinson WIRED
Although these #selfie totals might only equate to a small percentage of the photos on instagram worldwide... the numbers are kind of daunting right? (Read more about how your #selfies are actually being studied here.)
If truly meaningful media no longer (assuming it once did) has a place in our social networks and digital platforms... where do we put it, and how do we share it with people who will actually benefit from/find value in it? The greatest joy is in giving not receiving right? I think so.
So do your followers a favor.... and really think about what you post before you do... at least for this next week, share content that you think would benefit other people, not content that will boost your self-esteem in the form of comments and likes. In the mean time, I'll work on a place for everyone to join forces around the meaningful stuff ;) .... stay tuned.
Remember: Know your worth ... You are worth more than your last post.