I’ve been musing over Instagram lately. Sometimes, the app feels like more of a chore than an enjoyable outlet for some. We see people talk about being exposed to lifestyles and bodies that are unattainable, over photoshopped photos and everything staged to perfection. On the flip side, we also have influencers frustrated with the app’s algorithm, feeling like their engagement is slipping and fighting to be seen on their platform. Recently, Instagram seems to have become awash with a new photo editing craze – Lightroom. The Adobe program has been around for ages but is a new kid on the block for many bloggers and influencers, using their app to edit or buy presets to make your photos insta worthy and cohesive. Some bloggers are even selling their own presets and making some hefty £££.
I recently read this article by The Atlantic, titled The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over. At first, I thought it was a bold assumption, but the more I read the article, the more it spoke to me and made me realise just how wrapped up we have become with our feeds and how ever-changing trends are. One quote that stood with me from the article was from a fifteen-year-old who said: “it’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.” It got me thinking, has Instagram completely warped our view of how we present ourselves?
I started to dwell on my own Insta and how much lately, I’ve been trying to plan out my feed and streamline all my images using the same filter. I feel like I’m a 50/50 split between enjoying it and doing it because it is the thing to do if you’re a blogger. But, on the flipside to all of this, there is one thing I crave when it comes to social media – and that is authenticity. Is that what I’m portraying I began to ask myself? Thankfully, the answer was yes, but I decided to commit the cardinal sin of Instagram, and that is ditch a theme.
I did a HUGE unfollow at the beginning of March of accounts that either 1) painted unrealistic lifestyles 2) served no purpose to my likes anymore and 3) were too staged. I found myself abandoning bloggers I had followed for years who had huge followings and instead, following accounts with around 20k and under. I just found their content more relatable, less ostentatious and more importantly – just candid. Nothing forced or staged. The authentic content I was looking for. There has been a surge in Instagram vs Reality accounts, and people are starting to wake up and become more aware of the filtered lives that are flaunted on social media – especially Instagram.
Instagram is an app that is taken too seriously at times but, it is some peoples livelihood and hobby. For me, it is just about sharing what I’m reading, what I love and spamming pictures of my dog that nobody has asked for. But I find myself going through this huge process before I post a photo of applying filters to get it to match the rest of my photos and sometimes, it takes so much time. I’d rather spend my time reading or getting up to something else than conforming to the idea that my account won’t grow unless I have everything matching. Having a theme is a time-consuming process and don’t get me wrong, some are absolutely beautiful. But for me, I just want to enjoy doing what I’m doing without any pressure or feeling like I have to deliver certain shots to grow my account.
I think that article opened my eyes into how easy it is to get sucked into Instagram and even when I think I’ve been making changes, I have still been swept up in an insta worthy mindset. It is insta for Instant gram after all, so I’m going to remain in the moment. Now, I’m ditching the theme and just going to enjoy what I post. I know it isn’t the conventional blogger Instagram way but, I’m ready to step out of that bubble that focuses on the aesthetic. I just want to post what I love, when I want, without having to consider how it will look on my feed. Will it affect my account? Who knows. But I’m ready to not stress over how things look and do what I enjoy doing – posting and engaging with others.
What is your opinion on the Instagram aesthetic? Do you prefer just to post what you feel like or do you stick to a strict theme? If you do, do you find it can be time-consuming or do you have your process fine-tuned? I’d love to know more below, or you can tweet or Instagram me @whatamydid. Thanks for reading!1