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]

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404 Comments

  • Cliffordmary Mary

    I'm CLIFFORD MARY by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. ALLI the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I'm so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and

  • Cliffordmary Mary

    I'm CLIFFORD MARY by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. ALLI the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I'm so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and

  • Cliffordmary Mary

    I'm CLIFFORD MARY by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. ALLI the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I'm so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and

  • John Vivian Kelvin

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  • John Vivian Kelvin

    Hello friends. My name is kelvin. I'm from from Atlanta, but am in California. Been living in California for years now. I never believed in all spell caster. i Have been scammed by many different people.I lost hope in them. My ex left me. I was devastated. I lost my job. My best friend saw my situation.Then he introduced me to Dr ozali. i Was told his work is free. Never believed until i got in touch with him. He did a spell for me. in less than 72hrs. I was recalled a recover all my money and My t my place of work. Was even promoted immediately. I couldn't’ believe there is a real DR out there who does free spells. I only paid in appreciation after the spell had worked. He doesn't charge anybody until the spell has worked.You all shouldn't be deceived by all these scammed that are there for money.DR ozali doesn't charge.You can only pay for the items and he will start the spell- casting.Try him and see what am saying.These are the few things he does *HE BRING BACK LOST LOVERS IN 24hr

  • Durell Mgbonyebi

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  • Durell Mgbonyebi

    Need a spell caster?then think of DR,OBEYED he is real reliable and he does what he promise you.I know all this because he helped with my marriage problem.For security reason i will not live my name here but i can tell you all he did to help me.Me and my family live in the US military base here in America,my wife is a solider and i love it that she is and i support.But being a solider means she is half my wife and fully the U.S army.before her three tour we were so in love and we had a kid son who we both love him.It all changed after her two tour in Iraq and Afghanistan,i noticed the distance her second tour she stopped call at first i thought maybe she was part of an accident but i found out that she was OK in Afghanistan.She explained that she always on patrol.It got ugly on the third. I guess in the last two tours she found herself a new lover and then totally forgetting me and our boy.I can not say i did not notice because she always has to be some where instead of with me,coming

  • Durell Mgbonyebi

    Need a spell caster?then think of DR,OBEYED he is real reliable and he does what he promise you.I know all this because he helped with my marriage problem.For security reason i will not live my name here but i can tell you all he did to help me.Me and my family live in the US military base here in America,my wife is a solider and i love it that she is and i support.But being a solider means she is half my wife and fully the U.S army.before her three tour we were so in love and we had a kid son who we both love him.It all changed after her two tour in Iraq and Afghanistan,i noticed the distance her second tour she stopped call at first i thought maybe she was part of an accident but i found out that she was OK in Afghanistan.She explained that she always on patrol.It got ugly on the third. I guess in the last two tours she found herself a new lover and then totally forgetting me and our boy.I can not say i did not notice because she always has to be some where instead of with me,coming

  • Lisa Buckley
                               !!! “LOVE is the key to LIFE”. !!!

    At last my happiness has been restored by a Man named Dr Ukaka ,, my name is Lisa Buckley I want every one on this site or forum to join me thank this Dr Ukaka for what he just did for me and my kids. my story goes like this I was married to my husband for 5 years we were living happily together for this years and not until he traveled to Italy for a business trip where he met this prostitute who be witched he to hate me and the kids and love her only so when my husband came back from the trip he said he does not want to see me and my kids again so he drove us out of the house and he was now going to Italy for to see that other woman. so I and my kids were now so frustrated and I was just staying with my mum and I was not be treating good because my mama got married to another man when my after my daddy death so the man she got married to was not treating I and my kids well so I was so confuse and I was searching for

  • Bright Wizzy

    Need a spell caster?then think of DR,OBEYED he is real reliable and he does what he promise you.I know all this because he helped with my marriage problem.For security reason i will not live my name here but i can tell you all he did to help me.Me and my family live in the US military base here in America,my wife is a solider and i love it that she is and i support.But being a solider means she is half my wife and fully the U.S army.before her three tour we were so in love and we had a kid son who we both love him.It all changed after her two tour in Iraq and Afghanistan,i noticed the distance her second tour she stopped call at first i thought maybe she was part of an accident but i found out that she was OK in Afghanistan.She explained that she always on patrol.It got ugly on the third. I guess in the last two tours she found herself a new lover and then totally forgetting me and our boy.I can not say i did not notice because she always has to be some where instead of with me,coming

  • Vivian Adam

    Vivian After being in marriage with Clem for 8 years,he broke up our marriage, I did everything possible to bring our marriage back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him and for our two kinds, just to make a better mom to our kinds, and to protect my family. I begged him with everything even with the name of our kinds,made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring our marriage back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before four days, that my husband will return to me before four days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My husband called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he says was that he was so sorry for everything that happen

  • Marcus Zoe

    I will like to share my testimony to you all.i just got married to my husband about a year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed, fighting about little things he always comes home late at night, drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side.i have never love any man in my life except him.he is the father of my children and I don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today.few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid, being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so I have nobody to turn to and I was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her, my mother told me about Dr Jatto how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad I was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other.i was directed to Dr Jatto and explain everything to him, so he promise me not t

  • Marcus Zoe

    I will like to share my testimony to you all.i just got married to my husband about a year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed, fighting about little things he always comes home late at night, drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side.i have never love any man in my life except him.he is the father of my children and I don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today.few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid, being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so I have nobody to turn to and I was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her, my mother told me about Dr Jatto how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad I was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other.i was directed to Dr Jatto and explain everything to him, so he promise me not t

  • Oluwa Lucky Nice

    My Name is Javic maryline, I am From Manchester in United Kingdom.i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr tato

  • Barry Williams

    hello every body my name is Jennifer Wayne I just want to share my experience with the world on how Dr ojo help me, I got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for 3years with 1kid and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because I love him so much and don’t want to lose him but everything just didn’t work out… he moved out of the house because it was a rented apartment and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used his power… Within 4 days my husband called me and he said he wa

  • Barry Williams

    hello every body my name is Jennifer Wayne I just want to share my experience with the world on how Dr ojo help me, I got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for 3years with 1kid and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because I love him so much and don’t want to lose him but everything just didn’t work out… he moved out of the house because it was a rented apartment and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used his power… Within 4 days my husband called me and he said he wa

  • Barry Williams

    hello every body my name is Jennifer Wayne I just want to share my experience with the world on how Dr ojo help me, I got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for 3years with 1kid and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because I love him so much and don’t want to lose him but everything just didn’t work out… he moved out of the house because it was a rented apartment and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used his power… Within 4 days my husband called me and he said he wa

  • Tracy Jones

    Unimaginable and unbelievable. I am Tracy Jones from the United States and i have a good news to share to the entire world. Do you need your ex husband or lover urgently? I wanna tell you that you need not to worry because i have a good news for those out there that are faced or similar to such situation because there is always a hope and a solution to all problem. There is a great spell caster called Dr Eku who can really solve your problem. Getting my lover back is what i can't imagine but when I was losing Newton, I needed help and somewhere to turn badly but my Aunty told me about this spell caster who also helped her on the internet. I thought it won't work but i just tried to give this man a chance and i ordered a LOVE SPELL. Two days later, my phone rang. Newton was his old self again and wanted to come back to me! Not only come back, the spell caster opened him up to know how much I loved and needed him. This Spell Casting isn’t brainwashing, but he opened up his eyes to know h

  • Karen Tanya

    I am karen by name and i am located in Spain,I recently saw a testimony about a spell caster of some sort in a blog I visit for relationship and dating counseling problems because i had been having serious problems with my boyfriend and we had been dating for 1 year, He just suddenly changed, He wasn't returning my calls, He started cheating, He was hurting me in so many ways i never thought possible and I just thought I should try this spell caster called MAMA ALUTA , Cos there are so many good comments about her on the website, But before i could read his post,I have already contacted many spell caster that cheated me out of my hard earned money without given me result.But when i meet this spell caster out of desperation of some sort.I decided to contact them to please render there help to me, I explained all the problems that i was going through to her and she told me all i needed to do to get this spell . At first everything felt dreamy and unbelievable, Their consultations and

  • Anabella Garrett

    Dr. Lee, I just wanted to thank you for all your help and efforts with my situation with Garrett. As you know, he broke up with me a few weeks ago and I found you and asked for your help. I had you cast a return my ex-boyfriend love spell on our behalf and I have to tell you that I am very pleased with the final outcome! I'm happy to say, we are back together again after a few short weeks apart! I was so miserable without him in my life. You have made me so happy! I am ordering a binding love spell right now via Ancientfatherandmothers@gmail.com to make sure we don't split up again. Thank you for all your hard work and attention to my serious problem http://ancientfathersandmothers.webs.com.