A thought I have been mulling over as of late: what would happen if Instagram and social media disappeared all of a sudden?
A slightly post-apocalyptic image comes to my mind: people wandering the streets aimlessly, staring vacantly at the horizon, not recognising one another in their sociability. LOL.
OK, let’s get real now. I have been on the gram for less than a year but I often wonder how our modern society would be if these little apps didn’t have such a predominant role on our daily doings. What if you had to actually call your friend in order to know what is going on with their life? How would we kill time after meals or know what Kim Kardashian is doing every day of the week?
Questions that will remain unanswered as, even if I can look back a couple of decades and remember how things were back then (I am that old, no judging!), the truth is that nowadays there is no escaping the reach of social media in one way or another. Twitter creates and shares news faster than any other traditional news channel, Facebook kindly reminds you today it’s your fourth-grade classmate’s birthday in case you want to send him a cute balloon sticker and Instagram is your infinite dose of beautiful imagery directly into your blood stream.
In the past decade, social media have completely revolutionised the way we communicate with each other and even how we portray ourselves before others. Communication has become almost instant, which is great in emergency situations and when trying to get hold of people at the other end of the planet, but we have also voluntarily renounced a big part of our privacy in hopes of connecting with hundreds of people all over the world and potentially make a living off of that! It’s crazy when you stop to think about it, isn’t it?
Of course, not all is bad when talking about this subject (if there is a good or bad side at all). I find that one of the advantages of social media has been the democratisation of fame. I will elaborate a bit: it’s in our human nature to admire others, to look up to them and even to want to become them. That’s how we learn, how we evolve and how we stay motivated to achieve the best version of ourselves. The difference is that nowadays everyone has the possibility of becoming someone else’s role model without having to fit under the classic “idol” label, without the TV or the press deciding who we should look up to.
The fact that normal people are (over)sharing their experiences, their passions and their thoughts much more often than before has created a sense of community and belonging for many. People find relatable people whose interests and feelings hit home and thanks to social media, a real connection between these beautiful minds can be established. Of course we now walk on the thin line of treating everyone we follow on IG as an old-time friend simply because we know their life and work via Stories, so we have all become social stalkers to a certain degree… oops! But worry not, it’s vastly acceptable to do this and people even expect you to comment on certain things they shared on the Internet for the world to see! 🙂
And now getting serious again, I have not demonised social media and I totally recognise the contribution it has made to society, however I wanted to touch upon how I am feeling towards it lately and how it’s impacting my life.
After being amongst the first ones of my peeps in joining Facebook about a decade ago, I couldn’t stop raving about how cool this platform was to stay connected with friends who lived far away but that surely I wanted to see again someday! Also, as I moved countries a fair amount of times since I started uni, Facebook was the easiest way to stay in touch with family and friends while I was away. A few years later I started to see a shift in the way people used this platform and I got tired of it, of how political it became, dividing opinions instead of connecting like-minded peers, of how easy it was for people to share fake news and spread hate, plus oh my god, so many ads to scroll by! So I pretty much stopped sharing content on Facebook, save the occasional holiday snap or feminist article.
However if we fast-forward to the present moment, you’ll notice that I have had to reconnect with this old pal after launching She talks Glam because it’s where my circle of friends and colleagues, to my surprise the most loyal readers of the blog, are most active! So giving a second chance to Mark Zuckerberg, hahaha.
Now, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without discussing the king of the moment: Instagram!
This app surprised everyone by its simplicity and soon enough became the platform everyone was raving about. After some initial reservations, the fear of being left out was all too powerful, and so I joined this 800 million-people community without really knowing what I was getting myself into. Only pictures? Ah, ok, same thing I was doing on Facebook. Hash… what? A tool to navigate through the content and make it easier for others to find you. Do I want to be found? Mmmmm… still not sure here! A platform where creatives showcase their content and make a living by connecting with people and brands. Ah, that’s another story!
The idea of launching my own blog had been roaming around in my head for a while, but I wanted to have a taste of the app first. Capture a beautiful image, apply a filter that you like and add some words preceded by a hashtag so that people that are not necessarily your friends see the photo. Easy enough, right?
Little did I know that once the blog became a reality, my relationship with Instagram would become one of love and hate… After completing the compulsory “Instagram training for bloggers”: the 36,472 articles on how to curate your feed, how to find your aesthetic, the best times to post, the best hashtags to use in your niche, how to connect with similar bloggers and organically grow your account… I realised the art of cracking down Instagram’s code (the dreaded algorithm) was far more complicated than I’d initially thought. The truth is that, as I joined the platform when it was already a thing, the concept of the app being a springboard for content creators to grow their business was already in many people’s minds, including mine, so that took some of the point-shoot-and-share fun away and added extra pressure, because as a perfectionist, I wanted to get it all right from the start!
After only 4 months aboard the boat, I started to feel dizzy –read anxious–, constantly checking my phone, wondering whether I had an aesthetic to start with, getting upset when the bunch of followers I had won the previous week suddenly disappeared overnight, considering plans and places according to their level of Instagrammability, etc. To put it bluntly, I had totally lost myself in the social media labyrinth to the point that I was becoming a person I disliked. And I hadn’t even signed up to Twitter!
I have never been an anxious person, quite the opposite, so after a bit of internal struggle and a lot of external rambling (similar to this one here), I decided to take a step back and treat Instagram for what it is: a place where everyone can share their vision of the world and connect with similar-minded souls –be it individuals or companies–, but where people also go for instant gratification, and where not everything is as perfect as they make it out to believe.
My Instagram account grows ever so slowly but it’s fine, I am not letting the number of followers define me or the quality of my content –I was always rubbish at numbers anyways! I am enjoying the content I put out there and some kind people seem to be liking it as well, which I am really thankful for. I am getting to know amazing creators and upping my photography and editing skills thanks to them. I have also learnt to put my phone away more often and don’t feel the pressure to post something if I don’t feel like it.
I want people to see the real me through my grid, same as here in the blog, and Saida is sometimes a busy bee with no time or energy for social interaction, and sometimes the most exciting part of my day is breakfast (which I tend to share on InstaStories) and it’s OK not to have the luxurious blogger life they are selling us all over Instagram, but instead enjoy the little pleasures.
When I feel I am getting lost in the social media labyrinth, I take a deep breath, close my IG app and call a friend to meet for coffee or go for a walk. I keep on realising over and over again that the time spent with my loved ones is the most precious thing I will ever have, plus I’ll never be able to Instagram the feeling of this autumn sun touching my skin or the smell of burning logs in a fireplace… and you know what? That’s something I can totally live with.
Do you ever feel the same, glamistas? How do you disconnect from social media when needed?
Thanks for reading my thoughts week after week and hope you have the best Sunday ever!
Cynthia19th November 2017 at 7:08 am
Some great points addressed in this post! Loved reading it!
Kim2nd November 2017 at 4:16 pm
I love and hate Instagram. Both at the same time and for all the reasons you’ve said! It’s amazing how easily connected we can be with our peers with these apps but sometimes I find myself obsessed with it. My Instagram following grows very very slowly because I choose not to sign on that often or post very often, which sucks but at least it helps me mentally.
alimackin201327th October 2017 at 10:13 pm
I hace to say that I am not surprised by all the information about all the fake bots and profiles and fake news we are hearing about on the news, why? Because I am a blogger and I am fully aware of how fake most influencers are and especially in their numbers. It is ALL fake. Many people have expressed how they do not have time to spend 8-15 hours a day on IG and they don’t understand how other influencers have such large followers. I recently followed the actor who plays the kings brother from the runaway hit Versailles which is a world wide hit. He has about 60k followers which pales in comparison to the average “influencer” that most people have never heard of. How could that be? Are they on IG 24 hours day? No, it is FAKE, it is all FAKE. Fake followers, fake likes, fake comments, fake, fake fake.
That plus the habit of following people just to get them to follow you back so you can then unfollow them are the two things that is driving down engagement on IG. In some ways I could care less if IF and all social media disappeared.
Allie of ALLIENYC
nikkilivinglife26th October 2017 at 11:02 pm
Such a great post Saida. I was having a conversation with my single friend about how social media and technology in general has changed how we live. It touches so many aspects of our lives including revolutionizing dating. It is so easy to get lost in the labyrinth. Balance is key – which means disconnecting for a day or two each week. Now, onto your stylish fall outfit. Love your blue coat and that super cute skirt. Hope you’re enjoying your beautiful fall day.
Elegant Duchess26th October 2017 at 4:55 pm
I totally agree hun, love your ootd.
It’s good that I don’t have much time for media anyway being in the office 12 hours every day. I really think it’s impossible to reach big numbers on Instagram nowadays anyway even if one was to spend 5 hours a day engaging with others. I’d rather focus on what I enjoy doing which is writing nice content for my blog.
Rachel26th October 2017 at 4:47 pm
I love all the trends you put together! Pretty!
Shannon26th October 2017 at 12:59 am
This was such an interesting read & it’s interesting to think of what might happen if these apps suddenly disappeared. Most of my friends don’t even have Instagram though & use Facebook instead & I don’t have Facebook so it kind of balances it all out for me haha I love your outfit btw.
Maria | Short Girl Long Jacket26th October 2017 at 12:11 am
I totally feel this! I feel like I’ve read so many articles about how to make your instagram perfect and while I try to follow a lot of the tips, at the end of the day I don’t want to spend 4 hours on instagram a day strategically planning everything. I want to enjoy my life! It does hurt sometimes when I see people that have been blogging for a shorter time period than I have but have much larger followings, but I’ve learned to not take it too personal. I enjoy creating the content that I do and if not everyone likes it that’s ok. And I can barely handle more than instagram, I think I’ve posted on facebook maybe 3 times this year and they were work things haha.
Btw love your skirt!
Siffat Haider25th October 2017 at 10:00 pm
It’s so true, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers, but you really have to make a conscious effort to not let it affect you!
Nina Nguyen25th October 2017 at 6:26 pm
I totally agree doll! You look great, love that skirt!
andathousandwords25th October 2017 at 9:02 am
I love this look! So pretty! <3
lilyamber41524th October 2017 at 11:32 pm
I feel you girl!!!
Andreea Bîrsan24th October 2017 at 5:52 pm
Well, social media has pros and cons. We should probably spend less time on it and enjoy real life a bit more instead of staying with our hands glued on phones or staring at laptop screens. Also wanted to mention that I really love your outfit. You can pull off minis really well and killed it with the scarf detail! Wishing you a great day. xx
Cecilie Krog Pedersen24th October 2017 at 5:25 pm
You look stunning dear!
Nistha Saraf24th October 2017 at 12:48 pm
It’s become an addiction now for all of us, it seems.
Esther24th October 2017 at 8:40 am
There is so much to explore everytime. The most important is that you have fun.
I really love your pictures. Your outfit is fabulous. Have a great day.
Jessica24th October 2017 at 4:59 am
Haha I feel you. I could spend hours just browsing through Instagram. I don’t know what life would be like without it. LOL
Jessica | notjessfashion.com
poseandrepeat24th October 2017 at 3:47 am
So true Saida! Its so easy to get lost in the numbers but I think the best thing to do is to never let the numbers rule your feelings and creativity!
Pose & Repeat
MAHRYSKA23rd October 2017 at 6:59 am
never allow the feed to control you. most especially the numbers.
do what you love and continue sharing your passion…
kisses from the sandpit ❤︎
Maria23rd October 2017 at 2:06 am
I completely agree with! Great post. I have been feeling this way as well, and have disconnected for a couple weeks focusing on the things other than social media. I’ve lost some followers by doing so but it has been a nice break from the anxious, competitive, social media world. Love your outfit by the way. Beijos
Rina23rd October 2017 at 12:50 am
You are not alone babe. I found myself in the same place with Instagram and started to really resent it at times. Now, like you, I don’t allow it to overwhelm me or take over my life (funny that a little app like that can do that) and I’m much more happier now. I don’t want blogging to ever feel like a chore or something I dread otherwise it will take away from why I started my blog in the first place – for a creative escape and to add to my contentment and happiness. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of that =).