Personal

The Problem with Instagram

Posting to Instagram is a big chunk of my job. I have a love/hate relationship with it, mostly because as a user, you’re at the whim of another company and your KPIs are broadcasted out in a public manner. Now, there’s a lot of buzz about Instagram these days because of the ~algorithm~. Yes, I find it annoying, but what can I realistically do about it? Nothing other than to continue on continuing on. I guess someone could buy their followers (and likes and comments), but personally, I couldn’t live with myself if I was “cheating” in that way. I digress….

There’s also a lot of reminders that Instagram is a “highlight reel.” As in, don’t compare your life to what you see on Instagram because you’re only seeing the very best moments of someone’s life. I’ve always thought this myself and have made posts on the blog reminding people that as well. But over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that that’s not entirely accurate.

As I sat on the porch one day a few weeks ago, breathing in salty air and bundled up in a cozy sweatshirt, a book open– but largely unread– on my lap, I had this realization. That to me was a highlight; a perfectly blissful moment that even if someone had snapped a picture of it, it couldn’t come close to capturing the true essence of that feeling and even if I did have a picture, it wouldn’t “do well” on Instagram. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but those perfect moments can’t be captured in a picture or prose.

I don’t really have a giant takeaway, but it’s something that I still wanted to share. Instagram is always on my mind from a business perspective and I also use it, and other social media platforms, for personal reasons too. While picture-perfect moments might fall into the “highlight reel” category, they’re not necessarily the only highlights in your life.

A wonderful life moment doesn’t need a super cute outfit or an awesomely exotic destination. You don’t need a marble kitchen, the trendiest shoes, or even just-right lighting for a perfect moment. SO many of my favorite moments of the year wouldn’t “perform well” if I had a photo or video of it to post.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t post photos you love, but just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that only Instagram-worthy moments are the highlight reel. And don’t solely seek Instagram-worthy moments because the best of what life has to other might not translate to a picture-perfect image– and that doesn’t make it any less perfect.

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43 Comments

Caitlin

Thank you so much for this reminder, Carly! It’s good to remember that our best moments can’t be judged by an engagement number on the gram.
Caitlin

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Dana Mannarino

This is so true! My happiest moments aren’t necessarily captured on Instagram, but it’s definitely a highlight reel. I’ve been feeling so burnt out by the algorithm lately, but like you said we just gotta keep on keeping on!

The Champagne Edit

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Julianna

I love the truth and simplicity of this post. I agree that my favorite moments absolutely could never be captured in a photo, let alone be “good enough” for social media. I like that though. I like that there are moments that are just joy and later become memories that make me smile.
Thank you for reminding me of that!

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Christina

Carly, thank you so much for this post. I appreciate your authenticity. This is something that I think about somewhat often, and as a non-blogger I’ve started collecting pictures of these moments just to keep them in my memory. I love reflecting on my camera roll. My favorite pictures are not necessarily the ones that look great from the outside, but they’re the ones that remind me of my happiest times.

I read an article a few years back that we’re the first generation to live in a way that we think of what we’re doing as future memories, since we’re so used to posting on social media and reflecting on our posts. I try my best to live in the moment, but also enjoy holding on to these blissful moments.

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carly

It’s definitely a balance of living in the moment AND creating memories! I’ve been doing the 1 Second Everyday App and it’s been a nice way to capture small memories to reflect on after a year!

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Gretchen

Thank you for this reminder. I often get caught up in comparing myself to the people I see on Instagram. At the same time, I agree that the best moments simply can’t be captured. Some of my social media posts are ones that I can look at and remember how I was feeling in that moment.

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Marcella

I actually deleted Instagram a couple of weeks ago and I’m not missing it one bit!!! I was spending waaaay too much time on there and found myself comparing myself to my friends and other people and it was affecting me emotionally. I know you can’t do that with work but I definitely feel a lot better now.

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Taylor

Well said, Carly! I absolutely agree! Often times the “highlights” of my life are moments when I’m curled up with a book sipping tea or private moments shared with friends and family! Thank you for this reminder 🙂

Taylor | http://www.livingtaylored.com

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Rachael H

I get what you are saying. I no longer follow “influencers” on Instagram. A lot of my friends are doing the same. I get that it is a business for you – but I felt I was missing out of some of my friends posts due to the “~algorithm~.”

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carly

100%, I don’t follow that many people for the same reason and I STILL miss posts from my friends somehow!

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Jessica

YES! I have been having these thoughts lately too, and have begun incorporating “less perfect” images back into my feed. You stalk yourself for a little while, and miss the feeling of a memory you get with an old photo when too many new ones are “staged” or planned ahead with a purpose. Thanks for sharing your thoughts too! xx, jessica

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Meagan Halley

Loved this post, Carly. This is something I think about every time I’m on vacation. There are so many moments that would “do well” if there was someone with a camera to take the photo but I find that a lot of the time I don’t want to fully share that moment. It’s definitely a balancing act and can be tough sometimes. I think you do a wonderful job of balancing your highlights – you let us get a glimpse of this every time you share about your one second every day app.

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Elizabeth

Thank you so much for this post Carly. Lately I have begun to realize the same things. It’s nice to hear that someone else feels the same way too!

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Shannon Mahaney

I could not love this post more, Carly. Sometimes I find myself feeling down or depressed that my Insta game isn’t great. In reality life is amazing and worth indulging in. I’ve tried to keep my phone out of sight at night so I can savor in moments instead of endless scrolling.

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Jessica Miller

I love this, Carly! I’ve been having issues lately with Instagram (both features they’ve added/changed and the fact that as a casual or business user your work and success is based on the whims of another company) but I’m not ready to give it up yet.

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Martha

I actually miss the days when bloggers’ Instagrams were more “natural” – people just using it to show a snapshot of their day, not a super edited photo of a planned outfit, with a mini blog post as the caption. Honestly the perfectly curated feeds are a little boring to me and they start to look the same after a while, all following the same formula – outfit, coffee cup, peonies, outfit. Like others have said, I don’t follow many influencers on Instagram and prefer to use it to see what my friends are up to. Maybe if more bloggers used it that way (as if they were posting for their friends, not an “audience”), it would me more appealing to me. Just my two cents!

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Anna

Carly, I am a new reader / follower of yours and obviously was so for lifestyle reasons at first – like what you’re targeting at in this post. However, I am a rather picky follower haha and this is why I am a fan of your perspective on this topic and that you are bringing it up here on your blog, too. Thank you! Excited to follow you along!
Anna

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Laura

This is such a perfect post Carly. You truly capture the issue with Instagram. It’s a great way to connect with people and share your life with your friends and even strangers. So many people have difficult, life changing moments that they choose to share on Instagram in hopes of reaching someone who is going through something similar and I love that community aspect. However, Instagram can also make you feel quite terrible and insecure about yourself, you’re profession, and how you choose to spend your day-to-day. This post captures what you need to remember while scrolling through Instagram. I love following along with your life and “getting to know you” via Instagram and your blog. 🙂

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Danielle

Totally agree. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in “the perfect gram” that we forget to just enjoy the moment. It’s a hard balance to have these days.

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Marie

Thank you Carly for this great post / reminder !!
I don’t post a lot on IG because I tend to think my life is not cool enough for that but you’re right about all of this.

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Anne

Carly,
Thank you for this. You were the first blog I started to follow, because your honesty and authenticity made this whole “lifestyle blogger “ thing feel like real life. I cannot commend you enough for sharing vulnerability with your readers, while still keeping content engaging, interesting, and compelling to follow.
I love your style in terms of the clothes you wear and images you project, but I especially respect your style as a writer and human. Thank you for sharing the real.

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Cristina - Memories of the Pacific

I have a love-hate relationship with IG too. I like it because I love photography but I feel pressure when I post because I want my pics to perform as well as they can and if they don’t I feel like they aren’t good enough… Also, the obsession with the number of followers and people following/unfollowing, not caring about the community is starting to make me sick.

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Angela

I treat Instagram like US Weekly without the paps. I mostly follow celebrities, and a few bloggers, and a couple of animals. I rarely post myself. And if anybody follows me, and their summary even remotely sounds business-y, they’re getting blocked!

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Mini Striplin

Thank you for sharing this! Although Instagram plays a very big role in my life/business, I rarely share the actual highlights of my life there & I think that’s okay as long as i’m aware! This is a much needed reminder not to count our worth from social media.

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Julia

You’re realness and transparency is why I fell in love with your blog about 5ish years ago. Keep on being you and the rest will fall into place. You’re a rockstar and you inspire so many woman and men too!

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Laura

Great reminder that I think all of us social media/instagram users forget! Well said! 🙂

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Eva

Lovely thoughts Carly! I too post to Instagram, though I’m not very successful at it and it doesn’t reward me much, but I try not to think much about it anymore. It is a superficial highlight reel, rather than the best parts of anyone’s life! Glad you’re doing well <3

Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

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