Why Do We Care So Much About Instagram?

Why Do We Care So Much About Instagram?

Why do we care about any social media platforms, for that matter?

About a week ago, my roommate and I were laying on our beds, scrolling through pictures from a hike we had previously gone on. We were discussing which ones we wanted to post on Instagram, and what time would be the “optimal Insta time.”

After a couple of minutes of this, we both realized how dumb the conversation was. Why did it matter what time we posted our pictures? Who cares if you post two pictures in one day (#2pics1day, am I right?) What really makes a picture “Insta-worthy?”

This got our conversation rolling as we discussed the idea that the majority of our generation lives by certain “Instagram rules.” These rules consist of things like not posting more than one picture a day (unless you do something incredibly cool, of course, and if you do, you can’t post that second picture without someone remarking on the fact that you posted two pictures in one day) and not “liking” someone’s picture or not “following” someone basically means that you don’t like that person or you are currently mad at them. These rules aren’t written out anywhere, and yet, we all seem to live by them. And that’s an issue.

Countless times, I have overheard people saying, “I’m annoyed with her so I’m not going to like her Instagram picture.” Sure, you don’t have to like every picture, and you can be selective with your likes, whether you are conscious of that or not, but when you purposefully go out of your way to not like someone’s picture to “make a point,” that’s when problems arise.

Since when did we start using social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to be passive-aggressive? Instead of discussing any issues we have with one another, we place all of the energy on not liking that Instagram picture, that tweet, or that profile picture. And, really, what kind of benefit does that have?

Hint: There is no benefit.

Why do we care so much about our social media profiles? Why do we spend so much time coming up with the perfect line for our biographies (especially when it always ends up consisting of your college, your graduation year, and your sorority anyway.) Why do we agonize over which pictures are good enough for Instagram, or wait until it's prime time Insta-time to post our pictures? Why do we use filters and send screenshots of “Instagram options” to our group chats before posting anything? Why do we spend more time writing the captions than actually taking the pictures?

And I know why, but I really wish it wasn’t the truth. We do all of this to maximize likes, to maximize our online presence and following. Each like we get is a confidence booster, and every time our follower counts go up we silently applaud ourselves because we “must be doing something right.”

We live in an era where social media is our world, and that is both good and bad. In no way do I think that everyone uses social media this way, but I do believe that a very large amount of people do view their social media profiles as a very important part of their lives, and a very important part of who they are as people. Believe it or not, you are more than a string of tweets and pictures.

In regards to the controversy from quite a few months ago about whether or not social media is real life, I think that social media is real life and at the same time it isn’t. I think that social media is what each individual user makes it. Yes, your life may be full of beautiful smoothie bowls, flawless skin, perfect outfits, and parties, but at the same time, your life could also be full of binge-eating pizza, blemishes, sweatpants, and actually having a horrible time at that frat party you posted a picture at.

We selectively choose what to reveal on social media, choosing what is going to depict our most perfect lives. Which is fine, but the problem really arises when we begin to invest so much of our lives into our online profiles and presence, and start to lose our real world presence. Don’t make every event you go to about getting a picture for Instagram. Don’t let social media rule your life. Don’t make social media feel like a job, when it’s not. Don’t feel as if you have to live by these unspoken Instagram rules.

And lastly, don’t take so many pictures that at the end of the day you lose sight of what was really going on around you outside of the picture frame.

Cover Image Credit: Mediamister.com

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Code Yellow

A place that gives me so much support for my ambitions now felt like hell.

From the time I turned nine years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: get an education.

So, I forced myself to do just that. It seems as if I never get a break from studying or homework or waking up early to sit in three classes daily, but my education always comes first. As much as I refuse to admit it, I love school. But suddenly, it all changed for me. On Valentine's Day, a day to act on love, what was supposed to be a positive day turned into one filled with hate as Nikolas Cruz entered the doors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and began to shoot at innocent students. Students like me, who just want to succeed in life. It didn't affect me automatically. The fact that Broward County neighbored my county, Miami-Dade, left me anxious. The fact that the school shootings approached closer and closer to my home put things in perspective because it never occurred to me that it could happen so close to home.

Then, on Friday, schools all around me went on lockdown. People on Facebook threatened to burst into high schools and shoot them up, my alma mater included in the list. The anxiety rose more and more as I realized that my best friends could easily get hurt in a place that brings me peace - a place that gives me so much support for my ambitions now felt like hell.

Just this morning, I awoke from a nightmare that I got caught in the middle of a school shooting. When I finally got up and spoke to my mother about it, I bawled. It doesn't seem right that students can't feel safe anymore.

Will we ever feel safe again? I can’t even sit in my classrooms without wondering if the shuffling I heard in the hallway came from an intruder. It hurts. As a matter of fact, it sucks.

I hate that evil people decided that a place where one can grow should now become a place people fear. I hate that this country can spend millions of dollars on constructing highways instead of using it to bring security guards into school. I especially hate that politicians pass nonsense bills to repeal Obamacare instead of tightening up our gun laws, something that plays a more crucial role in the security of our nation.

I refuse to live in a country where my peace will get compromised as a new headline announces another school massacre. I am tired. I am pissed.

America, you beautiful nation, answer the prayers and use the thoughts to your advantage. I want my bachelor’s degree from Yale and I want to feel tranquility doing it, but I will not feel that until you elect officials who will advocate for a change! Let us make the first step in allowing our students to feel okay again. I sure as hell know that my dream won’t go down without a fight.

Cover Image Credit: APlus

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I Won't Let My Bad Habit Become My Life Again

A bad habit only stays a bad habit if you let it.

In some way or another, everyone has a bad habit. Most people don’t like to admit theirs or acknowledge that they have one, but being a writer means putting myself out there and opening up. So here goes.

As many of my friends and family know, I am a perfectionist. I can’t accept anything short of what I deem as “perfect,” and I’m constantly striving for some unattainable goal that I so desperately need to achieve. This was a big struggle for me in high school as I felt so much pressure from my peers to do well in school.

I kept telling myself that I needed to do the best or I wouldn’t be good enough. That was a constant cycle for me. I’d just about get to where my goal was, but then started to think I needed to do better, so I’d set an even more difficult goal for myself.

Recently, I’ve been able to handle this bad habit a little more effectively, but that doesn’t mean that it’s gone. My need for cleanliness, having my books all aligned on my desk, and the like is another component of my perfectionism. I know it drives the people around me crazy; I can get bossy or lash out when things aren’t in the order I prefer.

But it doesn’t just take a toll on them; my bad habit exhausts me, and sadly, I’m still struggling to kick it. Perfectionism isn’t something you can just quit cold turkey; it takes a lot of going back and forth with myself over the littlest of things.

Sure, this bad habit of mine might have some benefits (I keep my room and personal belongings orderly), but the positives don’t really outweigh the negatives. High school was a long battle of me telling myself that I needed to do the best or I wouldn’t be good enough. It wasn’t just academics either.

My bad habit worked its way into my social life, making it difficult for me to branch out and make close connections. I worried that my friends wouldn’t think I was the “perfect” friend that I hoped to be, and they would just leave. However, real friends don’t do that, and I’m thankful for those who stuck with me and continue to, even though some of them are hundreds of miles away.

Bad habits are hard to kick. Whether it’s nail biting, procrastinating, or even smoking, they’re all tough to break. I can definitely vouch for that.

Wanting, even needing, to be perfect consumed me. For the past few years, I spent too much time worrying about being good enough that it took away time from me appreciating who I was. At some point, though, you just have to say “screw this” and start working towards giving up your habit.

Although I haven’t completely gotten past mine, I’ve come a long way from where I was, and am closer than ever to where I want to be.

Cover Image Credit: Robin Hartman

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