Note: This piece is meant to be satirical.
“To upload or not to upload?” is something I seem to ask myself daily. I stare at the potential picture a few times pondering: Is the lighting weird? Could I do better? How do I brighten the picture? And how on Earth do I make myself look skinnier? Finally, after hours, once I have convinced myself that I have picked a picture, the picture that will define my day on social media, the worst part comes: the Instagram filter. Lo-fi, Mayfair, Valencia, X-Pro II (aka the “make me look tan instantly” filter), Nashville, and too many more filters to count haunt me as I scroll back and forth trying to make the most important decision. Picking an Instagram filter is by far the most stressful part of my day.
… I take that back, picking a caption is so much more stressful. Do I make it funny? Inspirational? Romantic? Witty? A deep reflection? A song quote? Maybe just an Emoji? The world may never know. And once I have the caption, do I add hashtags? Will I even get Instagram likes from that? Why is it that the Instagrams with no hashtags always get the most likes? While we’re at it, serious question: why is #friends socially acceptable? We know (and hope) they’re your friends, they’re in the picture with you. Once the caption is finally decided upon, the worst part comes: waiting for the likes.
I try to avoid it, I really do, but I can’t help but stare at my phone until the likes come in. It has become like a game. Less than 11 likes? Delete it. Not enough likes within the first hour? Time to reconsider. The stress begins to set in and before I know it, I’m scrolling as fast as my fingers can go, asking myself how a middle schooler’s selfie right before mine got 100 likes in 12 minutes, while mine has 3 in 10 minutes. Life can be so unfair.
We’ve all done it. We’re all victims of the social media struggle. We’ve all deleted a photo or two because it hasn’t received enough likes. We’ve all used the word “insta” as a verb before. We all live and die by the numbers in the little orange box. We tend to overreact when we accidentally post a photo before meaning to. We cry a little when in attempting to upload a picture, the word of death, “Failed”, comes up. We’ve all focused a little too hard on our follower to followee ratio. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve stared at our phone a little too much in anticipation of Instagram likes. We’ve all become Insta-ed out.
Maybe it’s just the truth of the matter: life is one big struggle for an Instagram like.