29th September 2014

The Instagram Effect

Marina Iskander discusses the unobtainably high standards that we set ourselves on social media.

Flashing lights, perfectly messy hair, not a worry in the world—everyone on your Facebook newsfeed seems to have had the time of their lives last night. You decide that you need to get out of your tiny new room and actually try to make friends; you’re going out tonight.

You come up with the best effortless-looking outfit you can find and make your way into what you expect to be a picture-perfect night. Except, that’s all it is: picture-perfect. The dance floor is crowded, you’ve spent half the night waiting for that one friend who keeps wandering off, you’re trying to fight the urge to go to the bathroom—where was all this on Instagram?

You would expect social media sites to be the perfect way to keep up with friends and family from all over the world, especially if you’ve recently all gone off to university.

Think of Snapchat; it gives you the ability to update your friends instantly. What we forget is that Snapchat was actually made in order to show your contacts a maximum of ten seconds of your otherwise long and perhaps rather boring day. Sadly, it’s that tiny window of time that sets our expectations so high.

As great and innovative as social media is, one of its by-products is that it augments events, places, and people, often casting negative side effects on the innocent Internet surfer. As insignificant as it may seem, this glorification will eventually lead to disappointment after disappointment, making one think that it’s their own fault they’re not having as much fun as they suspect others do.

Take porn for example—not everyone has effortlessly bronze skin or the perfect body for these impossible-looking moves. However, it is very easy for one to fall into the trap of believing that it’s their own fault they’re not picture-perfect.

There are endless articles and web-posts complaining about how advertisements and commercials Photoshop and edit models to a degree that alters the image of beauty. However, the Instagram effect is different in the sense that it is usually not done on purpose, but is instead a side effect of our beloved social media.

As everything else, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and similar websites will have their positives and their negatives—and this is one we may just have to silently deal with.

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