Apparently, everything we do on social media means something, and my favourite Instagram filter, X-Pro II, means that I’m an optimist. There are so many articles out there that dissect the meaning behind your choice of filter, and many other articles that offer insight into why people use Instagram and Snapchat. A recent survey by HTC discovered that 66% of people who use these apps post images to make their lives appear exciting and desirable.
Further, 75% of those surveyed admit they judge their peers according to the content on their Instagram profiles and Snapchat stories.
Why you’re obsessed with documenting your life on social media
One of the biggest appeals of Instagram and Snapchat is that these apps make people appear more reachable. By viewing personal images and videos, you’re getting exclusive insight into their lives. It’s almost as if you were there yourself. The downside to this is that it can make you feel as if you’re missing out on something. It can also make you sad, because when you look at these profiles you compare their lives to your own. It’s easy to believe your life isn’t good enough in comparison.
There’s a real psychological term for this. Have you ever looked at someone’s Instagram photo of their holiday and wished that you were travelling as well? This is called relative deprivation. We start believing that our photo of our açaí bowl isn’t as good as another person’s photo of an açaí bowl. Comparison can be a serious concern should it go unchecked.
Pics or it didn’t happen – the need to project an image of ourselves
Instant communication is at the heart of our society. Our generation has a growing compulsion to document every minute of our lives. We get gratification from sharing this information and receiving approval from our online peers. It’s no longer enough to observe the world through our eyes. Now, everything we see and do must be documented for immediate sharing and future posting. We see dinners, events and parties as opportunities to show off our lives. Everyone wants some sort of fame, and our obsession with social media satisfies this yearning. This makes every Instagram profile and Snapchat story look like a party.
By showing off our lives, we are missing out on them. It’s easy to spend such a great amount of time thinking about your social media that you forget to enjoy life. These social platforms aren’t going away anytime soon, so be aware of their effects on your health and daily life, and educate yourself on safe social media use. Your life is more than what you put on Instagram.