The Reality of Instagram and Social Media

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a photo on Instagram and been envious of that person 🙋 . It happens to me all the time. Sometimes it motivates me to do better, but sometimes I have to stop myself from comparing myself. This is becoming such a big issue with Instagram and other social media these days. Social media has become so standard today that it’s practically unavoidable. Instead of being a place of comparison and jealousy, why can’t it become a place of encouragement and inspiration? After all, that’s what it’s SUPPOSED to be, right?!

I subscribe to Jasmine Star’s email list, and on August 6 she sent an email about “4 Uncomfortable Things I don’t wanna tell you.” She shared topics she struggles with daily that you’d never know from looking at her page. That’s what I loved about this email. It’s so REAL. It’s relatable. People want to know that others face the same challenges and go through similar situations that they do. I was so inspired by this email that I felt compelled to reply in full support of this idea. I’m sharing my response below in hopes that someone else may be inspired to join me and the select others who are using social media to encourage, uplift, and inspire others by being completely real and honest.

This is what I replied:

Hello Jenna + Team,

I really appreciate this email, being open and honest about reality instead of trying to showcase the best of the best. I completely agree that Instagram is a museum of everyone’s self-projected awesomeness. This is the perfect explanation – it’s a highlight reel! But many people don’t share their behind-the-scenes, so our followers are left comparing their behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. They share beautiful, perfectly lit, super stylish photos on IG… but what they’re not sharing is how long it took to do their makeup, how many times they changed their mind about the outfit, the struggle of finding someone to take the pictures for them, or the amount of time it took to drive to the location, find a parking spot, and shoot 100 photos to get a FEW good ones. When people see a photo on Instagram, they see the best — I am guilty of this as I’m sure 98% of people are. But my goal, what I want to do, is to be real and honest with my audience. When I share a scenic photo of me with a hair bow, cute top, and a suitcase, I want them to know that the reality is I felt super nauseous and sick that day, but I made myself get ready, and go out to take the picture. It looks like a glamorous shot, but I felt like CRAP that day. I want people to know that what they see isn’t necessarily the reality. I believe in using your platform to encourage and inspire others. If they are inspired by the pretty picture of an outfit you shared and decide to buy it, GREAT! If they’re inspired by the honest caption about the reality behind the photo and feel encouraged, that’s even better.

I feel that Instagram is starting to move toward more open and honest communication among users, and I am so excited about this. If I can be part of the early group to start this trend, I would be one of the happiest people on IG. My motto (which I wish I could copyright or trademark) is to encourage people to live a life they love, and love the life they live. So here’s to being more open, honest, and real with our audience. Here’s to using our beautiful photos to encourage and inspire others, instead of to compare ourselves. Here’s to making social media a more encouraging and supportive place.

CHEERS!!

So I say let’s work together to make Instagram a more uplifting and inspiring platform by being honest and transparent through our content. Let’s use social media to connect with people and encourage them through whatever they may be going through. Let’s be the group of people who turn Instagram around and make it a fun and cheerful place to be again. Who’s with me?!

I’d love to know your thoughts on this! Share with me in a comment below or connect with me on Instagram (@justjstylinlife).

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You can find free resources or sign up for her email list at jasminestar.com. This is not an ad, collaboration, partnership, or sponsorship.

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