For a long time, Instagram was only about the curated feed. A beautiful look into the World and people’s lives, but one that was developed very carefully and strategically to show only the best. A slim (albeit gorgeous) look at humanity.
As we all looked into the World through our screens, you couldn’t help but gain a sense of envy and also feel as though something important was missing. Some truth fell through the gaps.
Social media, especially the carefully curated feeds of Instagram, left many people (including myself) feeling anxious about our own lives and sometimes depressed wondering why we didn’t have it so good. We bought into the facade of the curated feed.
“A quick post” turned into 30 minutes of editing, writing, deleting, rewriting, finding tags and pushing yourself to finally publish it, only to spend another 30 minutes monitoring the number of likes that came in. Then, you’d be feeling anxious and starting to worry if the number didn’t increase enough every time you pulled to refresh.
Our anxiety was fueled by the competition between each post on our feed and trying to understand the psychology of why this incredible photo flopped, while a photo you think is just OK is one of your most popular. Thankfully, we have a new way to share and connect with this app and community we’ve grown to love.
Recently, we were introduced to Instagram Stories, an open and honest direct clone of Snapchat that allows people to share photos and videos to their Story, which disappear after 24 hours.
Many people felt they could be real on Snapchat. It seemed to be the place where you could open up and show the everyday realities of your life, without needing to curate or worry about the lasting effects of how it looked on your feed later in the week.
But, so many of us were already invested in Instagram — we had our feeds full of photos, an understanding of how it all worked, and most importantly it’s where our friends were. For many of us, joining and investing the time into a whole other social network seemed to be daunting and simply too much.
Now, with Instagram Stories, there’s less anxiety about how many likes a post received and more freedom to show the whole picture of your life, rather than just the highlights. If you hadn’t already jumped over to Snapchat and built a network of friends or audience of followers, now you have the best of both worlds.
I don’t believe it’s the end of Snapchat, but rather the start of a new era for social media.
For a long time, I’ve been watching how social media progresses and evolves. It’s so very new to us that there are going to be growing pains and negative effects, but I believe that we will start to figure it out.
Instagram Stories is a great step forward in my opinion. It marks the start of social networks as a whole moving towards the ephemeral and real aspects of life. The vulnerable and real moments that don’t last on a feed for constant analysis, but leave an impact bigger than if it did.
Despite the complexities of social media, our connections to others, and our mental health — I believe we just took a step forward. A new way to share your whole story with those who may empathize or relate.
What are your thoughts on Instagram Stories? Share them in the comments below!
If you’re interested in learning more about therapeutic photography and how it can be used to help with depression and anxiety, you can sign up for our next free webinar or try out our new online course.
The One Project is the photography community for people suffering from depression and anxiety. We teach how therapeutic photography (the healing power of photography) techniques can be used to better express, understand, and overcome these issues with our private online platform and courses. Sign up for free now.
Please note: I always encourage photography to be a tool within your “toolkit” of techniques and support if you’re struggling with a serious issue like depression or anxiety. It’s not a replacement for professional help.