Links in this article may earn us a little money if you order stuff. More here.
Let’s Be More Critical When It Comes To Social Media…
So, you’re browsing through your Instagram feed and you keep seeing perfect photos. Right? Maybe you feel jealous – maybe it’s envy – but whatever it is, it’s not always healthy to feel these things over a few photos.
Why does this happen? How did we get here? For some of us, it’s almost weird to think back to a time before social media. Before every aspect of our lives was created, curated, and shared. It was made with good intentions – but these days, we’re not sure it’s all that “good”.
Instagram is a particularly important medium to be critical of. Photos – by nature – are visual. Something many, many, many people can experience and consume on a daily basis. Whole industries are now built around it – and with money and importance comes the dark side of the industry.
We obviously browse Insta, too – but we also know a little bit more about the “content creator” side of it. From our experience, here are a few things that we should all keep in mind when it comes to those perfect photos we see on social media.
It’s A Snapshot In Time
In general, it’s important to remember that photos are a snapshot in time. They are a piece of a moment. A fraction of a moment. A “snapshot” into a day. However, they make it seems like that moment is what the whole experience was like.
Not true. Not by a long shot. When we have our experiences, not every moment of that experience is going to be like that. In fact, that “moment” you are looking at could have been staged. You know the saying “if it’s too good to be true, it
We’re not saying that people shouldn’t capture moments in time that make them happy, bring them joy, or are
That view from that hike might look amazing – but it also took half a day to get there and a whole bunch of money and time to get the shot right. This moment doesn’t just exist “free-standing” in time. So don’t be sad when your experience doesn’t compare – it’s your experience, and no one else’s.
It (Probably) Took More Than One Take
This one is more aimed at questioning the authenticity that we experience in every day life. Comparing photos makes us ask things like “Why do my selfies look terrible? Why was my ice cream not as tall and covered in toppings as the influencer’s photo? Why was that flag not flying perfectly when I visited, too?”
These are the things that we start to compare to our own photos and experiences. The truth is “good shots” take time to get right. It’s rarely what that place/thing looks like ALL the time. So, we shouldn’t expect it to look that way when we experience it, too.
It really comes down to setting expectations for the person consuming the photos. It can be easy to “sell” someone on an experience through one perfect photo…. only to have them visit and be totally bummed out. Then, they think they did something wrong because it didn’t compare. The reality wasn’t the same as the expectation.
Just remember that if your photo doesn’t look exactly like the one that brought you there – your experience isn’t less valid without a “perfect photo”.
Related – How to Determine if Blogging is For You
It’s (Probably) Edited
We’re not content creators that use color and imagery for their craft – we do it, too. Shots can look beautiful with a little
However, when people at a viewpoint get photoshopped out, when the street in Europe is actually a completely different
Again, this comes back to the setting of expectations. Is the reality of the experience, the food, the thing the same in the photo as in real life? If the two differ drastically – and we as consumers don’t know about it – we might be disappointed. Often, we are.
So remember to be critical when seeing a “perfect” Instagram photo. If someone knows how to use photo editing software, a photo can be changed A LOT.
Was it Legal?
Sometimes, in an effort to get the best shots – the perfect shots – people are willing to go the extra mile. This includes – unfortunately – endangering their own lives or breaking the law to do so.
There have been countless cases of people dying from falling over the edges of walls, cliffs, or waterfalls for the most daring or cool selfie when there are often barriers set up for common sense safety. National parks are getting trampled through where people aren’t supposed to be walking. Fields of sunflowers getting destroyed because one person posted a pretty photo (this happened in Canada).
It’s obviously tragic when people lose their lives – but this loss is just so unnecessary if social pressure to deliver the perfect experience wasn’t so high. In fact, it’s now expected that experiences look a certain way. Feel a certain way. And if yours don’t, they are somehow less “good”.
The perfect shot is not worth the risk or the consequences. Snap your photos safely, make your memories, and move on to do it again sometime.
That Person Is Imperfect, Too
This one goes for whether we’re talking about the photographer themselves, the subject of the photo (if it includes a person) – or both. Remember – behind these photos there are people, just like you and me.
Like you and me, they are imperfect. They have their bad days, too. They struggle. The photos do not represent their lives in whole – but often we think that that moment captured on
“Look at them being all happy,” we might say… not realizing that they are actually battling depression or other demons. Smiles can go a long way – and they can be deceiving. We aren’t saying that everyone in their photos
And there you have it – a few things that we think you should keep in mind when browsing through Instagram! In the end, we just want people to be critical of what they are consuming on social media. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know!
As always, Stay Curious,
Pin it for later!