Scrolling through Instagram is almost a reflex now. I’ll admit I do it as soon as I wake up and it’s one of the last things I do in the evening. It’s not healthy. It can’t be. It’s a millennial addiction and a vain and narcissistic one at that. Yet that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that Instagram is said to be one of the most depressing forms of social media out there. I remember when Facebook was cool and my Dad saying “you’re liking their photos and you wouldn’t say hello to them in the street.” He had a point. But at least with Facebook we actually knew the people, whether we considered them an actual friend or merely a virtual friend. With Instagram however, I spend my days looking at photos of people I don’t know, people who live hundreds of thousands of miles away that I will never actually meet. Sounds kind of impressive actually, when you say it like that but the truth is, it’s not. The premise, as with most social media, is to open up the world of photography and share photos from every corner of the world with every other corner of the world. And, it does that but unfortunately it also does a lot more.
Instagram, like magazines and television creates a false sense of reality. It gives us access to other people’s perfect lives every second of every day. If you’re on Instagram (you are, I know you are) you are inundated with photos of people who are more beautiful than you, eating nicer food, in a sunnier climate with a more attractive group of friends and a cuter dog. Hell, before you’ve even made it to work in the morning you’re jealous of her coffee and his danish pastry. But trust me, your coffee was just as good, maybe it was instant and in a chipped Lyons Tea mug but hers cost €5 and was a bit cold and he didn’t even eat that pastry, he took a photo of it two weeks ago when he bought it for his friend.
As a fashion blogger I follow hundreds of fashion and style accounts so every morning I wake up to beautiful people in beautiful clothes doing beautiful poses. I see girls trying to look like other girls, boys trying to dress like other boys. Imitation is the highest form of a compliment, I get that, but if I see another Gucci slider I might scream. I will always love fashion but I will always have a complicated relationship with it. It is not the be all and end all. It is a fun way of expressing yourself. It is a form of art. But it is also a billion dollar industry that exploits the poor. It is complicated enough without throwing in #goals on top of it.
Which takes me on to the infamous hashtag. Goals. Goals are what we aim for, what we hope to achieve. If you think somebody is #goals then they’d better have achieved something seriously worthy to have earned that hashtag. If, in fact, they have merely pulled together an outfit that you like then are they really your goal…in life? Oh come on, I’ve done it, I’ve written, ‘girl you are serious #goals’ without even casting a thought to what I was writing. I meant, you look pretty, great outfit but I wrote ‘goals.’ I wrote ‘goals’ because my addiction to Instagram had gotten out of control. I was arranging my latte in such a way that the light hit the foam so I could use the correct VSCO filter. I was spending so much time perfecting the light that my €5 coffee was cold and my friends had all left the coffee shop. Hello my name is Christine Foley and I am an Instaaddict! No. No, I am an Instagram addict. Not an instaaddict because that is not a thing! Everything in life cannot be defined by putting Insta in front of it.
And yet I love it. I love Instagram because it keeps me on my toes. It makes me get creative. It has, in reality, introduced me to living, breathing people but I think it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. If you’re a blogger, stop looking at your follower count, it will drive you insane. If you’re not a blogger, keep in mind that we are constantly snapping the good and leaving out the bad and the ugly. We drink fancy coffees yes, but we also have the chipped Lyons Tea mug and days when we wouldn’t take a selfie if our life depended on it. If you want a pair of Gucci sliders then get them but don’t think you need them because they are #goals.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t worry about perfection. Take a photo and play with the filters but remember, when you go to bed at night and you close your eyes, nobody really cares about your Instagram.
Full outfit: Karen Millen