How Instagram Almost Ruined My Life

Insecurity, FOMO, and the other unfiltered harms that everyone's
favorite photo app can do to you.

In 2013, the phrase "you have no filter" no longer means you're not invited to dinner parties. It just means you don't have Instagram, an app that turns its users into monsters. Don't get me wrong--the platform is a great way to pass the time and stare at yet more pictures of fashion bloggers in Isabel Marant sneakers on Little West 12th, staring with pouts into someone's lens. It's great for stalking exes or new crushes.

Instagram all started with a dog (as do most great things). The first Instagram was of a puppy. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about what works in our digital economy, I don't know what does.

Instagram was sold to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. Many Instagram devotees were furious, determined that Facebook would sully the "privacy" and "intimacy" of Instagram. Neither are true, but it speaks to the power of the app's brand--users had deep feelings about their Instagram experiences.

Is this a problem?

So what if we we are obsessed with photographing our lives, down to every first dance, every flower, every sandwich. Does this mean we have issues? Yes, says the CBC, Canada's public television.

We are ceasing to see. Using our eyes to appreciate beauty is no longer enough. It always has to be documented for some other time--often resulting in an abyss of recordings. My first thought at a pretty sunset--where's my phone?

This is a tremendous problem. For many reasons.

We now look at people, dinners, events as opportunities to show-pony and showcase our lives. Everyone wants fame--our gram-obsession is a slice of that.

The New York Times just wrote about how online validation creates real feeling. Maybe instead of feeling and seeing and exploring the world, we want others to tell us we're doing a good job at it.

There is often so much "instagramming" going on at events I go to (myself included) that it can be hard to enjoy them. Sometimes I want to talk to my friends and celebrate someone's birthday without needing to see them blow out the candles in a photo uploaded by five people in attendance.

Instagram might create a deeper issue, too--feelings of FOMO, feelings of sadness. As I alluded to in my piece about comparing yourself to others--you are comparing yourself to the perception of someone else's glossy, Instagrammed existence. In Greta Gerwig's movie, Francis Ha, Francis tells her best friend that her new life looks so "happy" on her blog, when in reality, she is just projecting that to others and is completely miserable.

Frances Ha, official theatrical trailer

This is how Instagram looks--like one giant party. And don't we all want people to think that our lives are shinier than they really are? That the filters enhance and blur out things we don't want others to see?

It's not just about Instragram, either. All photostreams--Facebook, Flickr upping its game and improving its platform--are just two other ways to stare at photos all day. Snapchat, with the little cheeky ghost, is a photo-sharing app that self-destructs photos. It's adored by teens and also, apparently, Wall Street guys. I think by showing our lives, we are missing out on them.

We even know how bad our photo documentation obsession has become, and yet it won't stop.

Limit yourself to one or two photos per day. Any more than that, and you may as well be a fashion brand's intern.

Why read when you can look at pictures? Why look at and admire beauty when you can photograph it, invert the colors, slap on a Sierra, and share it with everyone you know?

Instagram has turned me into a filtering, snapping, cropping monstrosity.

As a navel gazer, Instagram is perfect: It's a direct expression. It's nearly 100% shoes, as I stare down at my navel. I also stare down at my nails, apparently. Once you become obsessed with photographing your surroundings constantly, it's then about approval from others.

The "golden number," as my brother calls it, is 11 likes. Once you get 11 likes on a photo, you no longer see user names, but instead you see just a number.

To add insult to injury, there are special days on Instagram. My least favorite and yet most utilized is ThrowbackThursday, which began with a photo of a car. TBT, as it's called, is Millennial narcissism and delight at its finest, as it combines both broadcasting and nostalgia.There are even unspoken rules to #TBT, with some Instagram loyalists demanding that the photo has to be "so old" that it's in physical form. What's your filter of choice? Everyone has his or her own, and there have been many articles trying to dissect what your chosen filter means about you. Mine is X-Pro.

Limit yourself to a certain amount of time looking at pictures.

It's easy to fall into what I dub the Instagram Hole: I am now looking at the photos of my ex boyfriend's best friend's new girlfriend's sister's baby (I actually tracked this). Before you know it, you're busy looking at celebrities' selfies and drowning in a sea of summer Hamptons-share-house pictures. (Red solo cups look best without a filter.)

Go play outside without your phone.

Maybe try sharing beauty with a person. Or yourself. The best filters are your eyes, so stop looking down and see the world.

Meredith Fineman is the founder of FinePoint Digital PR. You can read more of her writing here.

[Image: Flickr user Godolphin]

Add New Comment

108 Comments

  • Louis Frank

    Testimonies from my previous clients

    My name is Mrs. Max,From USA ,and I'm happily married with a lovely husband and three children.I had a very big problem with my husband few months ago,to the extent that he even packed his things away from our house. He left I and and my kids for almost 5 months,and i tried all my possible best and effort to bring him back.l discussed it with a very good friend of mine,and he gave me an advice concerning a spell caster, that he is the only one that can handle my situations and problem,that he's always ready and able to do anything related to spell casting and helping of the needy, pleas every one i would like you all to contact him with his email address,which is as follows."templeofsolution99@gmail.com". I never believed in spell casting,but My friend convinced me and i had no choice than to follow my friend advice,because i never dreamed of loosing my lovely Husband. And i contacted him with his email address,and i discussed with him all my probl

  • Louis Frank

    Testimonies from my previous clients

    My name is Mrs. Max,From USA ,and I'm happily married with a lovely husband and three children.I had a very big problem with my husband few months ago,to the extent that he even packed his things away from our house. He left I and and my kids for almost 5 months,and i tried all my possible best and effort to bring him back.l discussed it with a very good friend of mine,and he gave me an advice concerning a spell caster, that he is the only one that can handle my situations and problem,that he's always ready and able to do anything related to spell casting and helping of the needy, pleas every one i would like you all to contact him with his email address,which is as follows."templeofsolution99@gmail.com". I never believed in spell casting,but My friend convinced me and i had no choice than to follow my friend advice,because i never dreamed of loosing my lovely Husband. And i contacted him with his email address,and i discussed with him all my probl

  • Louis Frank

    Testimonies from my previous clients

    My name is Mrs. Max,From USA ,and I'm happily married with a lovely husband and three children.I had a very big problem with my husband few months ago,to the extent that he even packed his things away from our house. He left I and and my kids for almost 5 months,and i tried all my possible best and effort to bring him back.l discussed it with a very good friend of mine,and he gave me an advice concerning a spell caster, that he is the only one that can handle my situations and problem,that he's always ready and able to do anything related to spell casting and helping of the needy, pleas every one i would like you all to contact him with his email address,which is as follows."templeofsolution99@gmail.com". I never believed in spell casting,but My friend convinced me and i had no choice than to follow my friend advice,because i never dreamed of loosing my lovely Husband. And i contacted him with his email address,and i discussed with him all my probl

  • Benita Moyes

    BEWARE! THESE PEOPLE ARE BIG SCAMS BUT MALAIKA IS REAL Dr Malaika doesn’t ask for testimonies and he doesn’t charge. He is genuine and people get to meet him by luck. Every other testimonies of spell casters you read here are scams...... Dr Malaika lives in Nigeria and I happened to meet him by chance after a friend told me about how he brought back her ex and restored her lost womb. She also told me about how Dr Malaika cures all forms of illness ranging HIV to Cancer, Fibroid, and Infertility and also Money spells……. I followed those other internet testimonies and was hugely scammed to the extent that I wanted to kill myself. Dr Malaika turned my situation around by bringing back my ex within three days and also made me regain double of what I lost over to those scams. He made my ex come crawling on his knees to have him back. All I spent was $250 and at last gained back all my lost money and even double of it. His email address is (odogwumalaika@gmail.com)

  • Benita Moyes

    BEWARE! THESE PEOPLE ARE BIG SCAMS BUT MALAIKA IS REAL Dr Malaika doesn’t ask for testimonies and he doesn’t charge. He is genuine and people get to meet him by luck. But right now am your luck if you could meet him. Every other testimonies of spell casters you read here are scams...... Dr Malaika lives in Nigeria and I happened to meet him by chance after a friend told me about how he brought back her ex and restored her lost womb. She also told me about how Dr Malaika cures all forms of illness ranging HIV to Cancer, Fibroid, and Infertility and also Money spells……. I followed those other internet testimonies and was hugely scammed to the extent that I wanted to kill myself. Dr Malaika turned my situation around by bringing back my ex within three days and also made me regain double of what I lost over to those scams. He made my ex come crawling on his knees to have him back. All I spent was $250 and at last gained back all my lost money and even double of it. His email addres

  • Marian Jerry

    Hello every one, I really want to share my testimony to the hearing of the general public on this site about how DR EHI helped me, December 2013, I saw a post on a particular site shearing testimony on how the great spell caster brought back her ex who name is Jerry so I just see it common and i said let me see what will happen because my husband left me and my three kids for another woman just like that, i and my husband was married for six years living happily before i new what was going on, he left me and go for another woman so when i saw the post, i contacted the spell caster on his email and he told me i should not worry that my husband will come back to me in three days after once he finish casting the reunite spell and to my greatest surprise, i now have my husband back to me again and i want to use this medium to let every body know that this is real and if you are out there having this same problem please contact the great spell caster on his email now because he can do the

  • Marian Jerry

    Hello every one, I really want to share my testimony to the hearing of the general public on this site about how DR EHI helped me, December 2013, I saw a post on a particular site shearing testimony on how the great spell caster brought back her ex who name is Jerry so I just see it common and i said let me see what will happen because my husband left me and my three kids for another woman just like that, i and my husband was married for six years living happily before i new what was going on, he left me and go for another woman so when i saw the post, i contacted the spell caster on his email and he told me i should not worry that my husband will come back to me in three days after once he finish casting the reunite spell and to my greatest surprise, i now have my husband back to me again and i want to use this medium to let every body know that this is real and if you are out there having this same problem please contact the great spell caster on his email now because he can do the

  • Marian Jerry

    Hello every one, I really want to share my testimony to the hearing of the general public on this site about how DR EHI helped me, December 2013, I saw a post on a particular site shearing testimony on how the great spell caster brought back her ex who name is Jerry so I just see it common and i said let me see what will happen because my husband left me and my three kids for another woman just like that, i and my husband was married for six years living happily before i new what was going on, he left me and go for another woman so when i saw the post, i contacted the spell caster on his email and he told me i should not worry that my husband will come back to me in three days after once he finish casting the reunite spell and to my greatest surprise, i now have my husband back to me again and i want to use this medium to let every body know that this is real and if you are out there having this same problem please contact the great spell caster on his email now because he can do the

  • Marian Jerry

    Hello every one, I really want to share my testimony to the hearing of the general public on this site about how DR EHI helped me, December 2013, I saw a post on a particular site shearing testimony on how the great spell caster brought back her ex who name is Jerry so I just see it common and i said let me see what will happen because my husband left me and my three kids for another woman just like that, i and my husband was married for six years living happily before i new what was going on, he left me and go for another woman so when i saw the post, i contacted the spell caster on his email and he told me i should not worry that my husband will come back to me in three days after once he finish casting the reunite spell and to my greatest surprise, i now have my husband back to me again and i want to use this medium to let every body know that this is real and if you are out there having this same problem please contact the great spell caster on his email now because he can do the

  • Marian Jerry

    Hello every one, I really want to share my testimony to the hearing of the general public on this site about how DR EHI helped me, December 2013, I saw a post on a particular site shearing testimony on how the great spell caster brought back her ex who name is Jerry so I just see it common and i said let me see what will happen because my husband left me and my three kids for another woman just like that, i and my husband was married for six years living happily before i new what was going on, he left me and go for another woman so when i saw the post, i contacted the spell caster on his email and he told me i should not worry that my husband will come back to me in three days after once he finish casting the reunite spell and to my greatest surprise, i now have my husband back to me again and i want to use this medium to let every body know that this is real and if you are out there having this same problem please contact the great spell caster on his email now because he can do the

  • Marian Jerry

    Hello every one, I really want to share my testimony to the hearing of the general public on this site about how DR EHI helped me, December 2013, I saw a post on a particular site shearing testimony on how the great spell caster brought back her ex who name is Jerry so I just see it common and i said let me see what will happen because my husband left me and my three kids for another woman just like that, i and my husband was married for six years living happily before i new what was going on, he left me and go for another woman so when i saw the post, i contacted the spell caster on his email and he told me i should not worry that my husband will come back to me in three days after once he finish casting the reunite spell and to my greatest surprise, i now have my husband back to me again and i want to use this medium to let every body know that this is real and if you are out there having this same problem please contact the great spell caster on his email now because he can do the

  • Ari Marcus

    Hello every one, I really want to share my testimony to the hearing of the general public on this site about how DR EHI helped me, December 2013, I saw a post on a particular site shearing testimony on how the great spell caster brought back her ex who name is Jerry so I just see it common and i said let me see what will happen because my husband left me and my three kids for another woman just like that, i and my husband was married for six years living happily before i new what was going on, he left me and go for another woman so when i saw the post, i contacted the spell caster on his email and he told me i should not worry that my husband will come back to me in three days after once he finish casting the reunite spell and to my greatest surprise, i now have my husband back to me again and i want to use this medium to let every body know that this is real and if you are out there having this same problem please contact the great spell caster on his email now because he can do the

  • Stephanie Akhig

    THANKS TO GREAT DR OGUN FOR SOLVING MY PROBLEMS I am stephanie, i base here in USA.since the death of my late husband,and everything was difficult for me and my business was bad. I was just browsing through the internet and i saw series of testimonies of one particular Dr OGUN,the spell caster help them in various ways,Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw,it was about a woman called mrs ramirez,she testified about how Dr.OGUN brought her business back less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she drop Dr.OGUN e-mail address.After reading all these,I decided to give Dr OGUN a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days after doing what he ask me to do,I started receiving contract both the known and the unknow person. I am thinking him for making me a woman again and even happier

  • Stephanie Akhig

    THANKS TO GREAT DR OGUN FOR SOLVING MY PROBLEMS I am stephanie, i base here in USA.since the death of my late husband,and everything was difficult for me and my business was bad. I was just browsing through the internet and i saw series of testimonies of one particular Dr OGUN,the spell caster help them in various ways,Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw,it was about a woman called mrs ramirez,she testified about how Dr.OGUN brought her business back less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she drop Dr.OGUN e-mail address.After reading all these,I decided to give Dr OGUN a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days after doing what he ask me to do,I started receiving contract both the known and the unknow person. I am thinking him for making me a woman again and even happier

  • Stephanie Akhig

    THANKS TO GREAT DR OGUN FOR SOLVING MY PROBLEMS I am stephanie, i base here in USA.since the death of my late husband,and everything was difficult for me and my business was bad. I was just browsing through the internet and i saw series of testimonies of one particular Dr OGUN,the spell caster help them in various ways,Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw,it was about a woman called mrs ramirez,she testified about how Dr.OGUN brought her business back less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she drop Dr.OGUN e-mail address.After reading all these,I decided to give Dr OGUN a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days after doing what he ask me to do,I started receiving contract both the known and the unknow person. I am thinking him for making me a woman again and even happier

  • Merlin Lina

    I am Mrs ANDERSON ANN from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband Barry Morgan, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Clara who en charm him with his beauty, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I met my friend Miss Rose and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr Iyayi. who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 3days. Miss Rose ask me to contact Dr Iyayi. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After three day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out t

  • Katy Benny

    I have just found the right one and the greatest spell caster ever who has brought back my happiness and turned my world around by helping me get my ex and helped get back my life cause i was totally frustrated after 6years of hardship and pain, a friend of mine buzz me on my email saying i should cheer up cause solution has come. At first i was like what are you saying, then she mentioned the name 'EBOEHI' and i must thank my savior Great DR EBOEHI who has play a very vital part of my life making me a great person and the most happiest person today you are a great man who is bless by powers with traditional healing spell caster, after Great DR EBOEHI has help me get my ex back he also help me recover what i have lost in past years i must thank him (Great DR EBOEHI) the life he has restored back for me and my happiness. Now i am doing well in my work happily with my husband, Great DR EBOEHI is a very great spell caster you need to know just meet him and your problem will be over.. Emai

  • Katy Benny

    I have just found the right one and the greatest spell caster ever who has brought back my happiness and turned my world around by helping me get my ex and helped get back my life cause i was totally frustrated after 6years of hardship and pain, a friend of mine buzz me on my email saying i should cheer up cause solution has come. At first i was like what are you saying, then she mentioned the name 'EBOEHI' and i must thank my savior Great DR EBOEHI who has play a very vital part of my life making me a great person and the most happiest person today you are a great man who is bless by powers with traditional healing spell caster, after Great DR EBOEHI has help me get my ex back he also help me recover what i have lost in past years i must thank him (Great DR EBOEHI) the life he has restored back for me and my happiness. Now i am doing well in my work happily with my husband, Great DR EBOEHI is a very great spell caster you need to know just meet him and your problem will be over.. Emai