April 11, 2013

The Dark Side to Instagram?

Pink bunny iPhone cover.

Apparently I've been going along, innocently sharing photos with Instagram, thinking it was a service to have fun with and to be enjoyed.
Recently, however, I've learned that there's a dark side to Instagram.

According to a couple of articles I've read in the last week, the majority of people out there feel threatened and belittled by the photos their friends are posting of their "perfect" lives on Instagram.

Is this true?  Do people really feel this way?

Fallen #normandy #apples

Ok, let's back up a minute. Remember once upon a time, a long, long time ago, when we still took photos with a camera that used actual film, and that film was developed into actual prints?  Then those prints were put into albums that we would then share with friends and family?  Photos of our parties, vacations, kids, pets, etc.
Did we consider these photos threatening?  Was there really an ulterior motive to these photo albums?  Were we really just trying to show each other up and make our friends and family jealous of how perfect we were?

No, we weren't.

It was about sharing our lives, not about jealousy or a petty "My life is better than your life" sentiment.

Happy wine.

So, getting back to this whole feeling-threatened-by-Instagram thing...

Would seeing photos of the laundry piled up in my bedroom or the messy stacks of papers on our coffee table help you feel better about yourself?  Probably not.
Sharing beautiful moments, a fantastic meal, a funny sign, our cats, our kids, our shoes, whatever, doesn't mean we're trying to show how perfect our lives are. And if you think it does, then I beg of you to lighten up. Because there is no dark side. There is no ulterior motive.

Remember, nobody has a perfect life. Nobody. 

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H.Peter said...

Perfect lives. Joke of the week.

My TCH Blog took a turn towards the dark side so far this year, away from all things gluten free and french. But so is life. Warts and all.

The Beaver said...

Social Networking and all its derivatives are getting bad.
You would think that people will enjoy the idea of sharing : beautiful moments, memories, fun and thrilling times etc but it seems that some see ulterior motives behind that action of sharing.

I don't know whether we have reached that stage of entitlement whereby, if we don't have the same opportunities we have to be mean, greedy or jealous. I guess that it must be a good subject for those teaching social studies.

Thus, even though I have made a career in the latest technological doo-dads and do welcome the latest applications and services of technology, I tend not to participate in social networking because of that dark side - no matter how you define it and big brother.

croquecamille said...

Some friends of mine were discussing a similar issue on Facebook earlier this week. One left a comment I found just perfect: "don't compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else's highlight reel."

Lynn said...

Let's be clear -- this is not a new phenomenon. People have long felt other people's Christmas card letters were basically saying "my kids/life/etc are better than yours". I think the difference, as one article I read pointed out, is that you tend to check Facebook when you're bored, so seeing other people's "highlight reels" makes you feel even worse. I think in the past we could choose to open that Christmas card insert at the appropriate moment instead of while waiting for our car's oil change.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

A very timely post .. I have only just joined Instagram and wondering what I should put up ... I thought was sharing things to cheer people up, or something that we think is great ... or have I got it all wrong??

meredith said...

I love photo sharing and blogging because it's usually a happy dose of positive. I know my, you, their life isn't perfect but I'd rather focus on the good parts...bring on the good and beautiful please...I can look at piles of dirty laundry in my own house (but won't share that) :)

Jennifer F said...

Totally agree with your post. We all have REAL lives - the good, the bad and the ugly. We have always shared the good parts with friends and families - social media just expediates those shares. I do enjoy the idea of sharing - it's a way to fee connected to others. I personally enjoy sharing and also reading about others - but that's me and everyone needs to keep perspective on what is shared. It's nice though when people do sometimes share the tough and the hard too - makes it more real. Finding the balance in that with blogging is a constant question I keep trying to answer. Thanks for a great post..and please keep sharing!

trish said...

From a person who is a long way from home - australia now france youve all got it wrong. Facebook is not boredom. We should be grateful we can say happy birthday say hi to friends afar not be envious or jealous. All of us has dirty laundry and dishes but they r boring and the same in all households but pics of someones dog child baby or journey in life is to be appreciated because life is very short! Enjoy it!

Murissa Shalapata said...

Well said!
I recently read that the majority of people who use Facebook feel depressed after looking through their friend's lives because they mostly see all the "great" things that they are doing or have done.
A narrow thought that ignores all the great things that you've done and will do.

I find Instagram a great way to look into those lives abroad or ways to travel, places and unique places to eat and visit.


P. J. Grath said...

I feel totally out of touch with the world suddenly. What is Instagram? Is it one of those things people do on fancy phones? An "app"? No, don't tell me. Keeping up with my own and friends' blogs and checking in on Facebook a few times a week is all I can handle! I don't check this and other blogs out of boredom, either, but to look through windows into other worlds. Love it!

mademoisella coquine. said...

This is so strange, but it doesn't surprise me one bit.

I don't have Instagram but feel this on my own blog (and have heard some really mean comments said) almost to a point where I feel guilty about sharing an interesting experience, worried how it would be received.

What it comes down to is that you only have yourself to answer to, and if your "happiness" irks someone, the problem is clearly deeper than a silly photo.

Thanks for this post and bon week-end!

Barbara Muir said...

Keats wrote, "a thing of beauty is a joy forever." It seems absurd to me that sharing the best of our lives is threatening. Inspiration matters -- so does pleasure. Truly negative people need therapy. For the rest of us gorgeous photos of the high points in life are therapy. Thanks for that!

Dj Johnston, of www.djfineart.com said...

Thank you.