Is the Instagram generation a good thing?

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I don’t think I am part of a very nice generation these days.

As a child of the 80s, a teenager of the early 00s, I grew up filled with self-belief and the mind-set if you work hard enough, you can achieve what you want to. Of course, I missed the memo about lucky breaks and bitterness.

But here’s the thing, even though I am a self-confessed social media addict, I actually think that the Instagram generation is a bit shit. Which is a bit of a shame, since it’s one of my favourite social media channels.

Oh how I love a bit of Instagram. You know I’m no stranger to a filter or two (HELLO profile pictures), and nothing makes me smile like scrolling through my feed. Instagram is my happy social media place. It’s full of happy families, food porn, and my favourite people (both real life and blogger world).

But I often wonder if I’m in the minority. I mean, social media as a whole tends to be split between the perky and perfect, and the grumpy and woe is me, but instagram does tend to be happy – on the outside.

I’ve wanted for a while to write a blog post about social media assumptions – I was totally going to call it something to do with an Ass of You and Me – SEE WHAT I DID THERE. How we’re starting to allow ourselves to have assumptions made of us, and we’re making assumptions based on snippets. Snippets that are staged, no matter how natural they are, they’re there for somebody to see, maybe that’s next. Anyway, I digress.

I think that, if taken in the right way,social media can bring out the best in people. It can be an outlet, it can be a respite, it can make you think, make you smile, make you realise you can push past your insecurities and follow your dreams. I know, I’m speaking from experience.

However, taken to heart, it can really screw up a person’s perception of reality. If we are honest with ourselves, do we think that perhaps social media has turned us into little teeny tiny monsters, allowing us to push the small things into extreme? I do. It’s allowing ourselves to feed our aggravations, or insecurities. It can also ignite a feeling of resentment.  

I’m guilty of InstaEnvy sometimes, when I look at my friends feed my inability to make my house clean and white looking makes me grumpy. But I’m quick to remind myself that my friends are photographing a tiny part of their houses. That brands and businesses are setting things up in advance with white card and good lighting. That not all of social media is the real world oversharing these days.

However, I can’t help feeling, not everybody feels the same, and I can’t help but feel that not everybody uses social media in the way I look at it. I’m not stupid, I’ve been dipping in and out of the blogging world for years now, and as a writer promoting my books, I know how things go when it comes to self-promotion. Really I do. But I think, once you’ve divided off the brand/business/people accounts I’ve talked about earlier. There’s another type of person. The one who is there to prove their worth, although I’m yet to decide if it’s to themselves or to somebody else.

In fact, I think we are actually giving the media an easy ride by jumping on the share button band wagon and the current breast feeding selfie malarkey that’s currently in the media has only gone on to prove this. My initial reaction was “oh for crying out loud I DON’T CARE how other people look after their children.” Because I don’t. Within reason. They can wear them in a sling, or push them in a pram. They can cosleep, they can put them in their own room. They can feed them from jars or from their own puree. Cloth or disposable. I DON’T CARE. Because what I care about is looking at the picture of the baby. Of that memory, whether it’s been staged or not, it’s a memory. I care about what’s on the plate of food, and I really really care about where those shoes are from because I’ve got to get me a pair and I’ve got to get me them right now.

Because, NEWS FLASH – here’s the thing. There has always been, and always will be, sanctimonious smug, judgemental people out there. The difference is, that it’s shoved in our faces a lot more. But we do sort of allow it to be.

I would like to say that I only follow the people who make me happy. That everyone I interact with on social media I do so with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. But that would be a lie. Human nature wins over, and my timeline is full of people who when they post I roll my eyes and mutter “tool”. I have been known to stand in the kitchen, phone in hand, having a little stomping fit saying GRRR THEY ARE SUCH A SMUG WANKER at a photo or a comment.

This is silly. I know it’s silly, but I do have a rule. I don’t follow people who offend me. Even the biggest idiots, they don’t offend me to the point of unhappiness, to the point where I actually question my own parenting integrity and choices.

I’m always of the opinion that you should be able to decide what you put on your timeline, and whilst sometimes you have no choice who you follow due to family/playground politics, most social networks have a mute button. And if not, instead of letting them grind at your insecurity, take a step back and ask why they’re so blatantly trying to prove their point.

I’d love to say let’s all stick together, let’s all be one big happy family, but let’s be realistic. Let’s just start with just letting everyone get on with their own life, their own way, and focus on ourselves.

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