Oh the love/hate relationship most of us have with instagram. The struggle is so real. Can I hear an amen?
It’s part of our lingo now… I catch myself saying, “I saw someone posted this or that…” and “Did you see that…?” …how did this thing sneak so stealthily into our lives? It can be interesting and intriguing and addicting and oh-so annoying all at once.
In many ways, instagram has impacted our lives and, oh I hate to admit it, but our relationships. When I grew up, we all thought we were always invited to everything because there was no way of knowing otherwise! Truthfully, ignorance was bliss back then. It’s different for kids now. Actually adults too. A picture posted without a thought can end up hurting others, or giving off a wrong impression or lead others to think there’s a false reality out there that’s way beyond their grasp. It’s complicated.
When Pam and I started blogging, instagram was in its infancy stages…and we saw it as a cool way of posting pics and keeping a sort of life journal for friends/family to follow each other. It became apparent fairly quickly that there was more to it…this was a platform that offered businesses and bloggers opportunities to build communities, to work with brands and to establish actual analytics to back up your business (well, that was until you could start buying followers, comments and likes…but ummm ya, I’ll save that for another post. Sidenote, Pam and I may not have the fastest growing blog out there buuuut, we just won’t buy a community…it’s not our jam!).
Being on the side of someone who uses instagram as a business tool, I don’t have the option of walking away from it when it gets challenging/annoying/overwhelming (it’s vital to our brand) so I’ve really been working at making peace with it. The way I do it? Well, I’ve had to change the lens through which I view it. Guys, have you ever scrolled when you’re having a really emotional day?? You pretty much wanna huck your phone against the nearest wall LOL! So… here’s how I view insta:
- Instagram is a snapshot in time. I used to find myself wondering how others could have picture perfect lives with everything in place…from their homes to their children to their hair! But the truth is that the pictures your see filling your feed aren’t going to show the “yuck” because…well…it ain’t pretty. And yes, reality is attractive…super attractive, in fact. But here’s where I feel like you can follow someone who doesn’t post their garbage and yet still get a vibe of their true authentic self. Sometimes admitting the crap is enough…without having to take a pic of it. I’ll give you an example…earlier this week I posted on my stories that I was headed into vancouver for a medical appointment and that Lexi was coming with me. Crappy circumstances intervened and Lexi wasn’t able to make it home before I had to leave. I was feeling emotional already as I often do for follow up appointments and seriously, I cried the whole way in to my appointment. Then I came home, went for a walk, cried some more because I felt like no one cared (hahah!!). Then went into Nina’s room…she had had a crappy day so we both cried some more. NOT a stellar day! But… this is life! The ebbs and flows. Suffice it to say, I had nothing to post …and I would have felt fraudulent in doing so. If you scrolled my feed you wouldn’t be able to point out that sh*&^y day but I hope you’d be able to get a feel for the ups and downs. I have no problem in sharing the downs (like I’m doing right now!) but sometimes it’s hard to put that into picture form. No one (NO ONE) is spared from the downs. Don’t let a social media convince you otherwise.
- Realizing that it’s my choice who I follow and who I don’t. Guys, how many times have you struggled for one reason or another seeing someone’s posts? We are human. What isn’t awesome is when it starts becoming unhealthy. You are in control of what you fill your feed with (this is kind of a bigger picture point…way beyond instagram…and one that I am working on!). You are in control of what goes “in”….if you’re feeling negative or upset or…dare I say the ugly word “jealous”, you need to take action to get back on track. Follow those who add to your life feelings of hope, inspiration, curiosity, authenticity, reliability. Feed off the good stuff!
- No games allowed. It’s tempting. Ohhhh I’ve been so tempted to engage. But it’s just not worth it. I’ve seen it. Passive-aggressive comments. Baiting comments. Can I encourage you to just not entertain it? I guess this could revert to point #2…make a decision to follow those who bring you up…not down. There’s a freedom to being able to be more vocal online, but when I’m tempted to add a comment to the mix that’s edgy or fueled out of anger I find it best to sleep on it first. 99% of the time I’m super thankful I didn’t impulsively press that enter key!
- Embrace the upside. There are so many cool things about this platform. Embrace those. My experience with breast cancer was something I shared on our blog and instagram and wow, I was just so encouraged DAILY by so many that chose to take a moment and send me a note. The thoughtful messages reminded me I was not alone…that I was supported and that this community went far beyond “pretty pictures”. This platform has allowed me to meet others who are going through their own cancer journeys. It has given me the opportunity to pay forward that encouragement that I received. To make connections…based on things of greater eternal value than what my favourite recipe of the moment might be (though that’s cool too, right?!). It has afforded me connections that have been extremely fulfilling on a heart level.
Do I need to constantly work on finding a good balance of caring/not caring of who is doing what on my feed? Absolutely. There have been some moments where I have really needed to put instagram back into it’s place…and return my focus to real time, real life stuff.
Instagram’s place is two fold for me. 1. A tool for our business. Sharing our content. Recommending things we love. Hopefully encouraging people who choose to follow us. Working with brands. 2. It’s social! I love the connections..I am a social individual. Having said that, it does not take the place of face to face relationships…pure and simple.
If you’re struggling with allowing this app to take up too much negative space in your life, I’d love to encourage you to change the lens you look through and embrace the chance to add a positive element to people’s feeds.
There’s part of me that’s thinking this is really weird to devote a whole post…and this much head space…to an app, for Pete’s sake. Buuut this little app seems to have a big effect on people and their mental well being so maybe it’s worth talking about!
What are your thoughts on instagram? Ready to break up with it? Or maybe change how you use it? Let’s talk!
Thanks so much for reading…wishing you a wonderful weekend. Laurel xo