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Picture Perfect? Why Instagram Ruins Your College Memories

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

We UMass girls love our Instagrams. We love to instagram our plates at Berk, the changing leaves of the beautiful fall in Amherst, all our girlfriends in front of an American flag, Halloween costumes, the view from Du Bois, or our late night Antonio’s slices.

But after you post the picture to Instagram you delete the original picture in your camera roll, right? And at the time, saving that picture didn’t really seem all that important; you just took it to put it on Instagram it right? Well years from now, when you’re reminiscing about your years at UMass with your kids or with girlfriends, of course you’ll have your memories but it would also be nice to have pictures that capture that moment of time. It’s probably best to realize now that Instagram is not the most reliable place to store your college memories.

And it’s not because we don’t love Instagram! Instagram is so much fun and they can make some pictures look incredible with all their options for editing. It’s also a great place to share pictures with friends and loved ones and to stay in touch with various, people, celebrities, and organizations. We can always rely on “insta” to keep our creativity flowing and keep us visually connected to things going on all over the world!

Instagram’s unreliability comes from the fact that you can’t store your pictures safely and they aren’t guaranteed to be saved. Technology is ALWAYS changing. Who knows, next year there could be some cooler, more high tech app that also allows you to share your photos in a similar way Instagram does. Social media accounts are also always being hacked. It’s possible your personal Instagram account could run into hacking issues or other technical issues which would cause you to lose access to your pictures, ultimately erasing those images as if they never existed.

Our generation has also made it so that we only keep pictures that are “instagram worthy.” Face it, a lot of times when you see a beautiful view or another photography opportunity (and you’re not a photographer with your own camera) your first instinct is to take a picture and then post it right to Instagram with the right filter. When you take pictures after a night with your friends, you love the ones where you look good because naturally those are ones that you would consider posting, but you delete those where you don’t think you look good. Even though you feel that way now, those pictures where maybe you don’t look your best are the ones that you’re going want to have records of later.

I suppose now you’re thinking, “Well I could just screenshot the picture and then get them printed.” If you were thinking that, you are unfortunately wrong. Most printers won’t print the square format that Instagram confines pictures to and so you have to crop the picture and enlarge it to fit a 4×6, 5×7, or so on. Also, even though Instagram makes your pictures look good through the screen of your phone, when you try to make them bigger or print them, the filters cause the pictures to pixilate and it ruins the resolution so the picture becomes very blurry and unrecognizable. If you kept the originals, you could have all the Instagram notoriety of posting it while also being able to print the original photos and keeping them in photo albums.

You never want to forget the memories you make in college, make sure you preserve them as best you can!

Contributors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst