When you sign up for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, you are required to check a little box agreeing to the 20 pages of Terms & Conditions. While these rules are set in place for the legal protection of the company, there is another set of rules to be followed, at least according to the youngsters. From how many times you should post in a day to the quality of your photo, these so-called rules are limiting our creativity & our ideas- so why do we continue to prioritize impressing others before impressing ourselves?

GUILTY: Waiting until 5pm to post to obtain more likes

If you've ever been laying in bed at midnight scrolling through your feed, the photos you are seeing are likely from hours ago. We have become so preoccupied with the idea of likes, retweets, or shares that we plan the perfect time to post. Waiting until 5pm seems ideal because school/ work is starting to die down & the amount of online users raises. Either way, Instagram jumbles all the posts from two days ago to 43 seconds ago, so it doesn't really matter when you finally click the "Post" button.

GUILTY: Not posting a photo because it had a snapchat filter

Posting a selfie on Snapchat isn't as easy as we make it seem. First we have to find the perfect lighting, snap the best selfie-which usually takes 20 tries- and to top it off, select the best filter and stickers. At that point, we've put forth so much effort that we want it posted across every social media platform. I have to admit, I love the dog filter. Yes, I am basic, but I enjoy it because of how it brightens my skin. As much as I've wanted to, I've held back from posting my dog selfies outside of Snapchat because they just don't seem to be accepted anywhere else.

GUILTY: Saying Happy Birthday to a long lost friend for the purpose of using 10 different fonts on my Instagram story

Oh the newest fad of Instagram story "Happy Birthday" posts. Whether it's your best friend or your neighbor, if you've got photos together, you're likely to be added onto their story for your birthday. From 100+ stickers and fonts to choose from, I'm guilty of spending WAY too much of my time making these posts. Although, they are fun to receive, remind yourself in the 30 minutes you spent choosing the photos to editing them, you could've gone for a walk, read a chapter of a book, or even knocked out some homework assignments.

GUILTY: Not posting a photo because I couldn’t get the perfect edit

With the growing amount of social media users, the standard of "trendy" is constantly changing. There are hundreds of editing apps, yet we are limiting ourselves to using the same ones as one another, including VSCO, Afterlight, and Pixaloop. With all these options at hand, it almost seems abnormal to post a photo without any type of edit. I am constantly seeking validation from my friends as to which filter looks better, if I should brighten the photo, or maybe add some saturation, and when their opinions don't agree with mine I often reject the idea of posting as a whole.

GUILTY: Caring more about getting a photo at an event than the event itself

This past Thanksgiving, I was excited for the heaping amount of food, but just as excited to get dressed up in my fall color schemed outfit. Not only was I staring at the oven, awaiting the turkey, but I was staring at the amount of views my Thanksgiving post had received. Online, I was posting selfies, captioned "Thankful for my parents, friends, health & wellness", but in real life I was tucked away awaiting popularity affirmation, rather than embracing the moment. With holiday work parties & family gatherings approaching, just remember: the likes you'll receive from premiering your new red romper won't exceed the countless memories you could be making.

GUILTY: Not posting a selfie on Instagram- even though it was a good one!

As many of us do these days, I usually snap a few selfies before heading to an event. For the most part, they are deleted, but I keep a few to later edit for fun & decide if it's "post worthy". In my 5+ years of social media usage, I've learned: Twitter is the place for selfies, Instagram is the place for portraits, and Facebook is the place for anything- after all, your family members won't judge.

GUILTY: Apologizing for multiple posts in a short span of time

We've all seen #SorryNotSorry, #TheyreDifferentIPromise or #AnotherOne, but why do we continue to apologize when it is the choice of others to follow us? As I scroll through my feed, I never question the numerous posts from Ariana Grande, but if I were in her shoes I would feel the need to apologize to my followers for becoming a burden to their feed. The truth is: we are not limited on how many photos or tweets we can post for a reason. If you thought of a funny joke, tweet it. If you're proud of an art piece you recently made, post it. If you are just that torn between your two candids, post them both. If someone is truly bothered by your multiple posts, which is very unlikely, they can unfollow you, but you shouldn't be apologizing to them for something they signed up for!

GUILTY: Not posting a photo because it was too blurry

Let's admit it: We are not all photographers. The majority of us are even using the same camera! We seem to be so concerned about whether or not the blurriness of our photo is considered trendy or just too blurry. I find it ironic that in the editing process, we are likely to add "grain", a filter which gives the photo a vintage look, but when our photo naturally comes out blurry, it is usually deleted within minutes.

GUILTY: Attempting to make my photo look trendier than I actually am

I've always tried to keep up with the latest slang, fashion, and memes, but when it comes to Instagram edits- I am just not there and I'm not ashamed of it! From galaxy backgrounds to fancy stickers, there are so many ways to make your post stylish these days. For some people, their Instagrams are filled with checkerboard & holographic edits, but if you're like me and don't have that feed, that's okay too! Just like our social media pages, we are all different and that's what makes us special.

These guilty verdicts provide a common ground many of us share without admitting. You may have heard the saying "You must learn to love yourself before you can love someone else", and, surprisingly, this applies to your social media profiles too. Personally, I am done following the rules. It's time to recognize that you are just as cool, just as trendy & viewed just as much as your peers. Social media serves primarily to keep us all connected, but how can we do that if we are not even connected to our true selves?