I remember being in fourth grade and begging my mom to help me set up an email account. All my friends and I had an email chain which we would use to have competitions, talk about our days and complain about all the trials and tribulations of elementary school.
When Gmail expanded to Google Buzz and Google Plus in the years that followed, we pretty much did a lot of the same stuff. Selfies began to pop up on my feed more and more, but they were mostly smiling and peace signs. The most advanced photo alteration we used was CamWow.
Those were the good ol’ days… When did posting pictures online stop being fun?
That was a trick question, I know exactly when. Social media started sucking when Instagram turned into a competition. When a platform that was created for having fun and sharing special moments with your friends, turned into a race for the most followers and a battle of aesthetics.
Don’t get me wrong I am all for self-expression, and I love taking photos (even though I’m not very good at it). But the social pressures and unspoken rules that come with starting an account, make it so much more work than it’s worth.
Come on, you know the rules.
Don’t post more than once a day. Don’t use an Instagram filter-- you have to customize it yourself. If you use Huji Cam or that filter that makes everything look pastel, even better! You have to post in a certain window to get the optimal amount of likes, and you have to find a reason to post a picture-- no posting just because you want to! If it doesn’t get enough likes, delete it. And your caption better be extremely clever! Otherwise, the entire post is ruined.
In fact, these rules are taken so seriously that people have started to make second "fake" Instagram accounts where they can post whatever they want as if some magical force was preventing them from posting a meme on their "main" Instagram.
So, recently I asked myself… what happens if I break these rules? If I post a plain, unfiltered picture or even a crudely edited, ironic one?
Nothing. Well... mostly nothing. Since I started intentionally breaking these social norms, I lost about 20 followers, but I’m having a lot more fun!
Once I let go of the weight of all the ridiculous expectations that came with using Instagram and I started posting whatever I wanted, I finally felt free from the self-imprisonment that is an Instagram theme.