When little me downloaded Instagram to my iPod Touch in 6th grade, I don’t think I could have ever imagined what it would transform into today. What is now a hugely popular platform for influencers, models and small businesses used to just be a silly little place to post funny pictures, do 30-day challenges, and #hack your friends. The evolution of Instagram from a casual form of social media into a more sophisticated platform is pretty natural, if you think about it. Essentially, Instagram grew up and matured along with us — and I don’t think the app’s transformation has been a bad one at all. Today’s Instagram allows sponsored creators to reach out to vast audiences in a new, fresh format, and encourages them to express their creativity in a modern way that they can profit from.
Although we can all agree that Instagram has had a glow up, there's something about the app that I've grown to hate: the pressure of the perfect feed. While I find a nice color-coordinated feed as aesthetically pleasing as the next person, it isn’t something I exactly enjoy creating. I don’t have the motivation to curate a super interesting or cute feed like the rest of my teen counterparts, and for a while the idea stressed me out. It’s not like I was thinking about it every second of every day, but it definitely held me back from making a few posts over the years. I was constantly receiving texts from my friends of their pictures, followed by a “Is this post-worthy?” I would always reply with an enthusiastic “Yes!” because my Instagram policies were more lenient than most. But I still felt the pressure, and began screening my own potential posts to make sure they met the unspoken standards of Instagram: good lighting, cute background, funny caption, the whole deal. With all of these pressures building up, Instagram eventually just became…not fun for me anymore.
That’s why I hopped right on the bandwagon when I first saw #MakeInstagramCasualAgain start to pop up. I started making posts that were a little weird or unconventional at random times during the day, and honestly, it was kind of awesome. For some reason, posting a distorted Snapchat selfie or an awkward picture of 10-year-old me eating pancakes onto Instagram for all my followers to see brings me an actual thrill. I love watching the comments roll in from my amused friends, and at this point, I think people are more confused if I post something normal instead of my usual strangeness. The #MakeInstagramCasualAgain movement (and yes, I’m calling it a movement) has officially put the fun back in the app for me.
Sometimes it's hard to distinguish people’s real lives from the ones they portray on social media. Normally, what gets posted are the fine-tuned, glowing-with-happiness pictures of others. It’s not wrong to share these things, but constantly being exposed to posts that make others look perfect can be draining over time. The moral here is that it’s okay to laugh at yourself and be silly on social media. It’s also okay to curate a beautiful feed. Do what you want and what makes you smile. Happy posting!