I started my Instagram account in the fall of 2011.
It didn’t seem like much at the time, just another social media site that would be popular for a bit and then slowly fade its way out. Now that some time has passed I think of it as a tool and portfolio for my life. It has become a fun hobby that I have fully embraced and also included in my day to day activities.
Through spending time in the loop, I have connected with some awesome folks and have become an ambassador for some great brands. The more your work at it and the pickier you become with your content the greater the following and appreciation you will receive.
But there aren’t many people willing to talk about the dark side of Instagram. The knit-picking, cyberbullying, competitive and unreasonable side. For as long as the internet has been flooding our lives, people have been finding a way to beat each other down via social media sites. Whether it be a snide comment on Facebook or a snarky retweet on twitter – it’s been happening for years. I originally joined this site because I loved the simplicity of sharing a single photo and comment. I figured it would be a great way for people with similar hobbies and interest to connect across the world.
What I have found difficult with Instagram, in particular, is the bullying among women. It can’t be that you share what you’d like with your friends and followers – some people feel the constant need to judge and voice their opinions inappropriately.
The beautiful thing about this particular app is the freedom to follow who you wish and like what you choose. When I am searching a hashtag or exploring new profiles I will constantly stumble upon negativity and criticism. Some users find it stimulating to throw in a comment directly attacking the photo. What I cannot seem to understand is why the fun must be (for lack of a better word) sucked out of it??
My photos are all based around the outdoors and recreational sports like rock climbing and hiking (as are many of the users I choose to follow). I have seen this bullying between women mainly in this style of profile as there is a competitive element involved. Girls are showcasing their latest camping trip, route they climbed, slope they skied and with that – the judgements are born.
Instead of accusing someone of talking up an achievement or copying a style of photo, we should be building each other up. It seems the more followers I get the more brutal comments and messages I will receive. I had a user delete me and post comments about me on their personal page because they disliked the photos I was posting. To this day I am still unsure of what sparked the controversy and why, just because I am out doing what I love, the user got upset. Jealousy is too much to presume but has always seemed to be a plausible factor. I remember feeling a sense of belittlement and sadness. Although it is nothing but a silly photo sharing site I still felt I should leave and not participate.
If you’ve never tried Instagram or any photo sharing app this could be something fun to try! But to encourage others to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their achievements without personal discernment. You can follow fashion, sports, animal, scenery, art and any other category of profile. You have the power to see only what you choose and like within that. These social media areas should help empower and inspire and not be turned into a messy wasteland of insecurities.