Instagram versus Reality...
Do I have anything in my teeth in this pic?
OK...I don’t! I wouldn’t want to post a picture on Instagram where something is out of place! I mean, I did only go into the vineyard to take a selfie (or, as the kids say, #ForTheGram).
This second picture is definitely everyday life for me. That’s the beauty of working from home – you don’t have to impress anyone.
Being “Yourself” Online Is Harder Than It Looks
If you’ve noticed me being a little sassier on Instagram (I’ve had a few people mention that I’ve been making them laugh lately), that’s because I’m “over it.”
Yup, I’m over the feeling that people are just using the platform to impress their peers, rather than utilizing it to have meaningful interactions and tell a unique story. I’m over feeling like I have to share everything, or else risk getting lost in the ether of social media content.
Now that I think about it, I’ve been sharing my life on social media since MySpace. Add onto that my 10+ years of doing this social media marketing thing for a living. As my friend Landon (aka @GetHarvestCard) reminded me the other day, I’m one of the original bloggers in Sonoma County. (I’m actually not sure if that’s true. But I did meet many of my wine friends 10 years ago through wine blogging!)
Social Media Is a Two-Way Street
Anyway, you know part of my life exists on social media...I love connecting with people. I love seeing pictures of food, and getting inspired to travel to new destinations, restaurants, and wineries, drooling over recipes to make or wines to try. I love smiling at inspiring quotes, laughing at memes, and feeling all the feels from seeing pictures of my friends with their families.
What I don’t like are the mental health issues it causes – the compulsion to be perfect and compare yourself to others. It’s been written about ad nauseum, so I won’t go into detail, but here are some of my favorite quotes from articles about social media and mental health issues:
“Research has found that the more social networks a young adult uses, the more likely he or she is to report depression and anxiety.” - Why Instagram Is the Worst Social Media for Mental Health from TIME.
“Take it from a former social media addict: Planning ahead and only spending a few minutes a day posting and engaging with people helps you to feel less overwhelmed.” - My article on 8 Ways to Keep Social Media Marketing from Gobbling You Up from the North Bay Business Journal.
“‘I was putting too much weight into who was viewing my Instagram,’ says Mondalek, who started posting photos of the free gifts she received from designers and PR teams, hoping to build her following. ‘I would worry about how a post was performing instead of making important calls. I felt a certain pressure to make a brand of myself, and there was so much anxiety in that.’” - How Instagram Takes A Toll On Influencers' Brains from The Guardian.
Basically, the gist is that spending TOO MUCH time on social media (especially Instagram) is making people less happy.
I feel like I’ve always been close to “myself” on social media, but I think I’m coming out of my shell even more. Knocking down walls really makes a difference in the way I use social media, like not just sharing the best of me, putting an effort into making myself laugh with my own stories, wanting to talk about politics more, and having conversations in my DMs/posts with people who have amazing insights.
What Instagram vs. Reality Means
#GramVersusReality is a subset of people (although many STILL use it to share filtered pics of themselves, ugh) who are using the platform to remind their communities that Instagram is a place where people mostly try to share the best of themselves. And the best is not everyday life. That the BTS (aka behind the scenes) of stories is their real life.. But many times that isn’t even the case. I am seeing so many of these “BTS” stories with the hashtag AD for deodorant, or laundry detergent, or even tampons… I am all for this because we should be talking about these items more. I mean, women stink sometimes, and have their periods, but I want to see people (not just women) be themselves for THEM, not because they are getting paid… Or because that’s where the influencer marketing trends are going. * cough, hashtag autentic. *
Social Media Self Care Action Item
So, instead of feeling like you have to impress people with your Instagram pics, just share what you love. What YOU are passionate about (even if you are sharing for your business). Find what makes sense for YOU and your customers – because I promise, there is a community out there for everyone.