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Culture > Digital

Instagram Is Mostly A Highlight Reel, That’s Okay & Not Okay

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again: “Instagram is just a highlight reel”. I’m here to tell you that’s okay and not okay. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to share every vulnerable moment and human emotion through a singular social media account. However, the people behind these accounts are humans with feelings and unique experiences that they want to share. Storytelling is one of the most beautiful parts of life and social media is one of the most effective ways to share these mini-life stories, but taking accountability is something that should not be forgotten.

why is this okay?

Having life “highlights” and celebrating achievements in your life makes it more fun, and sharing those little moments with people that matter leads to connectedness. Regarding UCLA, I have encountered some of the most creative minds in my life, and hearing about their shared experiences and ideas has been extremely inspiring.

On top of this, you can connect with anyone who’s been a part of your life! You can celebrate your old neighbor whom you haven’t seen since elementary school, support your friend’s engagement when she’s across the world, and ultimately connect with people through a special, visual medium.

why is this Not okay?

In “jealousy, jealousy” Olivia Rodrigo was right: “comparison is killing [us] slowly”. My most used app every week this year has been Instagram and I want to blame it on responding to my friends’ DMs, but that’s honestly NOT the truth.

As someone who’s attempted to use screen time on Instagram time and time again, I always fail. I’ll be the first to admit that FOMO does get to me sometimes and I don’t want to miss out on the moments that my long-distance friends share on Instagram. We don’t need to find out everything instantly because life isn’t a race. It’s more important to prioritize your mental health and well-being than attempting to “keep up with the Joneses”. Especially living as a young woman in the heart and home of all things “glitz and glam”, LA, I have noticed a shift in the way social media is used in life. This is both a positive and negative thing. The need to conform to Instagram’s ideological, candid, “fake” fun style puts unnecessary pressure on which moments are worthy of posting. This has led to a gap in the portrayal of life on social media and real life.

if it’s not okay, take a break and just live life.

Just like my parents always say, it’s important to disconnect from your devices and take the time to fully engage with those around you. Instead of locking into your devices, lock into the people around you. Constantly contacting each other via social media takes away from the beauty of hearing voices and experiencing real human reactions. 

if it’s okay, remember that your personal life is still yours.

Once you have a healthy relationship with social media, things like Instagram are great for connecting with others. It’s simply not possible to share every intimate and happy moment in your life. Your personal life is still yours to keep and treasure.

it’s in your hands.

At the end of the day, using Instagram or any social media platform isn’t a bad thing. It’s how you use it that makes a difference. So use it or don’t. Either way, continue to share your life’s highlights, advocate for important causes, and live your life authentically.

Danielle is a second-year from Temecula, CA. Her articles range from sharing interviews with influential figures, discussing the ups and downs of being a young woman in LA, and spreading positive energy through diverse stories! Happy reading!