Instagram - Graphic by Hunter Huffman

Instagram is a popular social media app originally made to share pictures and videos with friends and family. According to apptopia, it was the fourth most downloaded app in 2020. Although the app first started as a fun way to share pictures with your friends and family, over the past few years it has morphed into something much different.

Instagram has now become a social media platform full of “influencers,” Facetune and filters.  No longer is it a fun place to share memories. Instead, it’s become a cesspool of comparison and competition to see who can make their life look as perfect as possible.

I personally noticed this change in posting. I remember back around 2013 when I first downloaded Instagram, it was really fun. I posted whatever pictures I wanted without caring how I looked or if others would find it cool or not. And this is pretty much what everyone on the app did. It was really for yourself, friends and family to see.

But this gradually changed. People began only posting what would get a lot of likes, which was essentially posed pictures where everything was FaceTuned and filtered, whether or not they were actually enjoying themselves or the place in the picture. As a young teenager, I started doing the same. I only posted things that I thought looked absolutely perfect, that others would double tap on.

Because of this, the app became a lot less fun. I became obsessed with taking the perfect picture (although it wasn’t perfect until I edited everything about the picture) to post on Instagram, only to delete it if it didn’t get “enough” likes, or didn’t look identical to what the influencers were posting.

Eventually, it just wasn’t fun anymore, it was actually the complete opposite. It made me feel awful about myself and my life.

Instead of posting “in the moment” pictures or just fun memories, I posted one picture out of hundreds taken that were perfectly posed, edited with filters and FaceTuned to match society’s idea of the “perfect body.” Because of this way of posting, Instagram has become a breeding ground for low self-esteem, comparison and judgement. 

However, many people want this to change. 

Recently, the movement to “make Instagram casual again,” has become very popular. Many people want Instagram to go back to how it used to be, just posting random pictures and memories with friends or things you find interesting, without the pressure of having to make your life seem “perfect.”

The goal of making Instagram casual again is to encourage people to start actually living their lives instead of just making it look like they are to their followers. To go somewhere because it would actually be a fun way to spend your time, and not just because it would make for a good Instagram photo. To try and actually live your best life and not just trying to make it look like you are to your Instagram followers.

I slowly have been making this transition to posting more casually on Instagram instead of hyper focusing on whether every aspect of the picture looks “perfect” or not. Instead, I’ve been posting people, places and things that make me happy, and not insanely editing them to look perfect, despite what other people might think of them.

While it was difficult at first to think about what other people might think of the random imperfect pictures I was posting, it slowly became fun. Now, it's really fun to post something that I find interesting, and do it for myself instead of for others.

If you find yourself constantly doing things just because it’ll make a good Instagram picture, or editing that same picture to the point where it’s unrecognizable just because it will get likes, instead of actually making you happy — I would recommend trying to post casually on Instagram, for yourself. While it might seem weird at first, you might find yourself actually living instead of just posting like it.

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