Like it or hate it, Instagram has changed our culture in a very distinctive way. With over 300 million users, Instagram became an unavoidable giant, which lead Facebook to buy it out for 1 billion dollars. Though Instagram has brought a lot of good, including the ability to stay connected with loved ones, be inspired by others, and help small businesses boom, Instagram is also causing a lot of damage in our lives; not recognizing and fighting those things can only bring more damage. Here are 5 ways Instagram is ruining your life and what to do about them:
1- Measuring Your Value or Someone Else’s Based on Their Number of Followers.
You see someone with a lot of followers, and you automatically have more respect for them and an increased desire to get to know them. We must recognize that being “Instagram famous” and being loved are not the same. A lot of times, they are actually the exact opposite. Recently, I had someone with several thousand Instagram followers share with me how he doesn’t have many friends and how he has a difficult time connecting with others.
What to do about it: Remember, there are many people you and I know that have little to no followers on Instagram but have a rich lives because they focus on actual real relationships around them rather than focusing on a number on a screen. Follow their footsteps and invest in real relationships around you.
2- Developing Insecurities.
You follow someone who inspires you but what you don’t know is that they are not really inspiring you, they are just making you feel more insecure. You see a wealthy guy “living the life” but they are not sharing with others how to succeed. Instagram only provides a split second of that person’s life. Often times, this person was handed the money by their wealthy parents, or those photos are staged, or they actually struggle with depression. Girls look at other pretty girls looking “perfect” but they don’t know that many of those girls have eating disorders, hate their own bodies, are desperate for attention, and are spending hours using makeup and Photoshop to mask their fears. Here is an article about a girl with over a million follower who quits Instagram stating that it was not real life.
What to do about it: Be authentic by sharing the good and the bad. The most “likes” I received on social media were when I was vulnerable. It inspires others to do the same and it gives others the permission to embrace imperfection and disappointments. Surprisingly, being vulnerable is a key that will bring you more followers; and more importantly, positive impact.
3- Increasing Your Fear of Missing Out Instead of Living in The Moment.
That’s an epidemic in our culture. Instagram has exposed us to what is happening all the time and it lead us to constantly feel that we are missing out. The truth is, it is impossible to be at every party and with everyone at all times. This prevents us from living wholeheartedly, we become less invested in those around us because we are daydreaming about other people and opportunities out there.
What to do about it: A study has shown that your level of happiness is directly connected with living in the moment with those around you. The more friends you have, the harder it is to go deep. So, instead of living in a fantasy that you can somehow be friends with everyone you want in all the different states, go deep with those around you. Who are you locally spending time with and how are you inspiring each other?
4- Being Ungrateful.
Comparing your life to what appears to be”flawless” will lead you to become ungrateful and unable to see all the good that surrounds you.
What to do about it: Recognize that what you see is a very small picture of someone else’s life. It is impossible to sit around taking perfect pictures of yourself on yachts all day. It’s not real life. Even those who have it tend to live a life without any challenges, goals, and dreams and they tend to attract insincere individuals, causing difficulties to build genuine friendships.
5- Creating Awkward Tension With Those You are Not Following.
Choosing to not follow or unfollow someone you personally know can cause awkwardness. People can asses whether you really care about a relationship with them based on whether or not you are following them.
What to do about it. Define who and why you are following those you follow. Instagram can actually help you define your boundaries. I recently had someone ask me why I don’t follow them. I kindly said, “I mostly follow people who are involved in my life regularly so I can stay focused on going deep with them. Otherwise, I won’t be able to track my closest relationships’ updates but I use Facebook to follow on your updates”. I recommend that you focus on following those who you care about the most. unapologetically, unfollow people who make you feel insecure and inadequate and replace them with those who can bring good into your life or those who you can bring good into theirs.
Why I Launched a New YouTube Show.
I have been working on a YouTube Show called “The Johnny You Show” where I interview individuals with big platforms so that they can share their stories behind what we see on the little screen. So far, I have interviewed an outdoor photographer, American Idol top contestant, an influential YouTuber, and a writer who just published a new book. My hope is to replace the negatives that social media is bringing with more positive. The goal is that viewers and followers can gain confidence and get inspired through the vulnerability and the content that is shared so that we all become better together rather than compare ourselves to others. The first interview will be published next week and you can view it by subscribing to my YouTube Channel here. Here is the trailer for the first interview:
What’s your thoughts and is there any point you would like to add? Comment Below!
– Johnny Youssef