You know in the Chainsmokers song Everybody Hates me, they say “I post a picture of myself cause I’m lonely. Everyone knows what I look like, not even one of them knows me.” We bet you relate to this line, almost everybody in this generation does!
Instagram is affecting your mental health in ways you can never imagine. According to a study on 1500 young social media users, Instagram was ranked as the worst platform causing them anxiety and lack of self acceptance in terms of body image and more. Snapchat came next, while YouTube was perceived the most positive platform amongst users.
But have you ever stopped to wonder why Instagram and Snapchat are the most vicious? For years, we’ve all used Instagram to post pictures and the measurement of how cool a person is was the number of likes they received. We started to adapt to the red carpet attitude in daily lives. We followed celebrities and ‘influencers’ and somehow, we all started to copy each other to feel famous.
The regular feed just wasn’t enough to affect your life, the Stories came to the image next. Mark Zuckerberg released the stories after a failed attempt to purchase Snapchat. The feature which was released around two years ago has drastically changed things. It was more than a regular post for users; nobody will see the number of people who viewed your story, unlike the post where the number of likes caused ‘much of an embarrassment to some users’.
Now that was a game changer. People would share stories of them partying, sitting by the beach, enjoying a drink or dancing crazily in a concert and soon enough it became a competition of showing who leads the best life ever! A regular car ride would be transformed into a mini dance party once the front camera was turned on. A normal dinner would be all laughs and fun once you realize you’re being filmed. Behaviors change once you see someone holding their phone, we started pretending that we’re having fun rather than actually having fun. According to another study, millennials went so far that they started posting fake photos of vacations on Instagram to make their followers jealous.
The introduction of filters was another story. For years, we’ve been seeing flawless supermodels all photoshopped and it kind of put an unattainable beauty standard that we spent our lives trying to reach because guess what, those models themselves couldn’t reach it! Now Snapchat and Instagram offered you filters to look flawless yourself, and shortly after that, plastic surgeons reported that users went to them with those selfies asking for surgeries to look like that!
According to Esquire, Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, stated that the throbbing need to show our best selves on Instagram Stories is a mixture of aspiration and the human need to be accepted by others.
“The desire to be liked and receive positive feedback and social validation is normal,” Dr Rutledge says. “[However] preoccupation with self-presentation, to the point where it interferes with other goals or dominates self-value, reflects issues with low self-esteem and confidence.”
To cut it short, we spend multiple hours of our days watching people exaggerating, making their lives look much more interesting and adventurous than what it really is, and hence, we all tend to do the same. We became copies of copies of copies, but is anyone really having fun or is it all acting up for the camera?
We’ll just end this article with a question presented in The Chainsmokers’ Sick Boy, how many likes is your life worth?