Last night, I was lying in bed, and I found myself stalking my own Instagram. Let me repeat: stalking my very own Instagram. What a curious concept that is. As I scrolled through (primarily fitness or alcohol-infused images of myself), it got me thinking about the abstract phenomenon we have discovered with the rise of social media.
Now, I warn you, these ideas have been hurled around a million and one times before (so if you wish to opt out, perhaps do so now), but I’m in a writing mood, and this just seems to be sprawling from my fingertips.
Instagram; a bizarre space within which we exhibit the best parts of our existence, each attempting to prove our lives to be unquestionably wonderful (whether that happens to be a conscious decision or not). This may be through the medium of the body we’ve achieved, those we socialise with, or the places we visit, to mention just a few.
It’s peculiar how much of the world revolves around social media. Instagram is, quite literally, at the centre of everything we do (we, being millennials, obvs). Consider the phrase, ‘do it for the gram’; coined by an entire generation (if a generation can be collectively held responsible for coining a term?).
Now, this isn’t a targeted attack at Instagram. My work as a fitness professional is largely reliant upon social media, and evidently, these platforms can be put to good use. I’ve used social networks to connect with people I would never have encountered otherwise. In terms of building a business, maintaining relationships and developing yourself as a brand, Instagram is priceless.
However, social media can become pretty damn damaging, should we let it. Consider the following:
This relates to a meme I saw last night (it seems my late night scrolling may not have been so mindless after all), stating:
‘Sometimes, when I’m really overwhelmed, I like to sit back, take a deep breath, make a list of everything I have to do and then spend 4-5 hours looking at complete strangers on Instagram’.
This speaks to my soul on so many levels. So many levels, it’s worrying. Social media can single-handedly act to destroy productivity. Time is precious (particularly in Dubai, I mean where does that shit even go?), we need not waste it being inefficient.
Thousands of people have a very large social media following, and very little education on their chosen subject. It’s genuinely concerning that individuals can have such an expansive reach, with little-to-no factual insight or evidence-based research. I can safely say this is why the fitness industry is an absolute shambles. Did you really do a 30 day squat challenge to achieve that butt, Tina?
This is largely connected to my last point, however it’s related more selectively towards celebrity/influencer endorsements. Skinny teas that upset your stomach to the point of chronic dehydration, and ‘revolutionary’ new diet strategies that suggest we eradicate all carbohydrates (and consequently endure sub-optimal brain function). P.S: carbs are life for the purpose of fitness/performance/overall sanity.
I feel somewhat hypocritical for writing this post, because I’m one of those to blame for posting regular updates, and parading the best part of my day on social media. However, I pride myself on being real wherever possible. Most body-related images are paired with a sarcastic caption, which confirms how great the lighting is, or how high my leggings are pulled up. For example: here, here, here and here.
I can honestly say that I have never edited a picture with anything other than a filter, whether that may be on Instagram, Lightroom or HUJI cam. A little bit of saturation and a smidge of structure to highlight any minor ab definition (I repeat, minor). Never once have I altered the shape of my body, smoothed my skin, or whitened my teeth/eyes (because apparently you can do that now huns).
So, what’s the point of this lengthy and arguably somewhat boring post? Something you’ve heard a thousand times before: be conscious of how you consume the information you see online. Remind yourself that your insta crush probably took 400 selfies, before photoshopping the hell out of her favourite one and posting it. There’s a very high chance that her butt isn’t that peachy and her skin ain’t that flawless 100% of the time (if ever). Take everything with a pinch of salt.
You are responsible for the way in which you absorb information. ‘Unfollow those that make you feel bad about yourself’: a narrative that has been widely adopted of late in the realm of social media. Ultimately, it’s true. Next time you see an image that makes you question yourself, or simply annoys you, u n f o l l o w (myself included, I’m fully aware that I can be v annoying).
Happiness does not exist in displaying the best parts of your life on a grid. Genuine contentment lies in the mundane, everyday stuff. Watch the sunset, spend time with the people you love, read a good book, learn something new. Instagram will only ever be, at large, an idealised and constructed representation of reality. Don’t allow yourself to be consumed by information fed to you through the paradigm of a social platform.
Soz huns, that got deep. Love you.