The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
By now, you have probably heard about the “Make Instagram Casual Again” (MICA) trend from the hashtag #MakeInstagramCasualAgain or from other social media sites such as TikTok or YouTube. What you may not have thought about is whether or not it will last and have a positive impact on social media users. Today, I am here to tell you that adopting this new attitude towards social media will improve the quality of your Instagram experience.
If you do not have a social media presence or use Instagram regularly, you may be asking, “What is the ‘Make Instagram Casual Again’ trend?” It is a mini-movement started by users to restore the popular social media site to what it once was, a place to share moments of your life with other people without fear of breaking the unspoken “rules” that would form years after its launch.
I first joined Instagram at the beginning of my first-year of high school and am now entering my sophomore year of college. Since I first downloaded the app, I have made a new account twice due to the pressure to conform to social media etiquette that was all so new to me, essentially performing for an audience consisting of my peers, most of whom I didn’t even know. I distinctly remember stressing over the number of likes and comments I got and even deleting posts that did not get enough in my eyes.
High school me would have rejoiced at the birth of “MICA” and here’s why:
- Reason #1: It disregards the unspoken rules of instagram
Anyone who is heavily invested in their online presence will tell you that there are expectations for how you act on Instagram, even though they are not explicitly stated. Some of these “rules” I am referring to include:
- Only post at a certain time of day to ensure the most interaction
- Do not post twice in one day
- Make sure that you are following less people than the amount of followers you have
There are, of course, many other rules and the rules themselves vary depending on the user. However, these are the ones that I most commonly have heard from peers and influencers.
Many people who participate in MICA, including myself, have completely broken these rules. I, personally, now feel comfortable posting at any time of the day, even when all of my followers are asleep! I also follow about one hundred more people than my follower count.
- Reason #2: It decreases the pressure to curate a picture-perfect Instagram life
If you look at any influencer’s Instagram, it will be glaringly obvious that their online presence is heavily curated and edited to make it seem as though they have the “perfect” life. Over the years, however, we have become increasingly aware of the ways these people do this. Unfortunately, more and more people have adopted these tips and tricks to make their accounts look similar to Kylie Jenner’s. While this sounds harmless in theory, it actually places a great pressure on the account owner to maintain that “Instagrammable” lifestyle.
One of the most prominent features of MICA are “photo dumps” which are carousel posts of ordinary photos and videos from the user’s daily life that usually have nothing to do with each other. Even celebrities have hopped on this trend, one of the most popular being Ariana Grande. If you take a look at Grande’s post, you will notice that these are not necessarily the most glamorous parts of her daily life, just the ordinary moments like spending time with her friends or dogs. Of course, her account is still a glamorized version of her life; however, it is still nice to see the moments where she is not dolled up on the red carpet.
Users are also migrating towards more candid photos and even using film or disposable cameras to achieve that look. As we all know, with these cameras, you cannot see what the photo will look like until it gets developed. It starkly contrasts with the process of taking selfies on a smartphone in which you may spend a great deal of time finding the right lighting and angles and even take multiple before choosing the best one. The effortless nature of film photos is a great example of making Instagram more casual.
Instagram has definitely taken note of the increasing social pressure that influencer culture has placed on regular users. In response, the company recently gave users the ability to turn off likes. This removes the like count for the account owner and others viewing their posts. While I cannot speak for all users, this new feature has definitely helped me. After using it, I feel less embarrassed about my like count and less likely to delete posts that did not get “enough” likes.
“Make Instagram Casual Again” has definitely improved my social media experience. I now feel confident in posting whatever I want whenever I want. I will be honest, I have lost quite a bit of followers for posting “too much” and my like count has gone down due to posting at times when not many users are active. However, it really does not matter to me anymore. In my opinion, that is how Instagram and all social media should be.