How Instastories Made Me Feel Like a Loser
My Friends and I, We Eat, Live and Love on Instagram
My Friends and I, We Eat, Live and Love on InstagramPhoto: Erum Gour/ The Quint

How Instastories Made Me Feel Like a Loser

After Facebook and Whatsapp, another tech giant, Youtube has also introduced the feature of ‘stories’ for the users. It looks like another case of FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. Everyone wants to have their share of ‘stories’, that have more or less changed the way we display our lives on social media. Especially, millenials.

“What is this place?”

“Where are you chilling today? I am so jealous!”

This, on the left, is me on social media. And this, on the right, is me too, but in real life, or IRL, when the selfie doesn’t make it to Instagram.

When the virtual and the real don’t match really!
When the virtual and the real don’t match really!
(Photo: @dilliexplorer/Instagram)

This is how I get my food recommendations.

It’s almost like if it was not on Instagram it wasn’t worth eating
It’s almost like if it was not on Instagram it wasn’t worth eating
(Picture Courtesy: Instagram/Priyanka Bansal)

My life is all about keeping up with the Insta-millenials- another word for my generation. We eat, live and love on Instagram.

Displaying your life on a feed that has to be carefully curated is... a task ! And god forbid, we don’t get a ‘respectable’ number of likes, it’s devastating! So like my friends, my InstaFeed too is kaafi carefully curated.

It has to be perfect mix of landscapes, food and your face
It has to be perfect mix of landscapes, food and your face
(Instagram/Priyanka Bansal)

So just when we were exhausted from the perfect curation of our lives, there came Instagram Stories ! Hallelujah! *play angel music in the background*

There was no ‘like-monster’ breathing down our neck.We did not have to be embarrassed about a picture with less than 20-30 likes.  The stories would vanish in 24 hours. Poof!

Instagram hit the numbers jackpot and so did we. But it’s not always as rosy as it looks.

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Picture Or It Didn’t Happen!

Another location I will probably only see in stories unless my 7PM curfew gets waived.
Another location I will probably only see in stories unless my 7PM curfew gets waived.
(Photo: A friend’s Instagram)

Dude, photo to le! Itni sundar settings hain!”

“Camera nikaal yar! Khabardar bina photo liye khaya to!”

We are addicted to pictures. We need pictures of what we eat, who we meet, where we go and even when we are sad but yes, all aesthetically pleasing. Pictures are our basic necessities almost like “roti, kapda aur makaan”, which is a scary proposition to say the least.

I am a loner, I don’t have many friends, but I have a habit of observing people and their habits. I see people who are tired, done partying, honestly just wanting to go home and sleep. But as soon as a phone is whipped out, glasses get raised, teeth are flashed, voice pitches change. It has to look all hunky-dory.

No studies or anything, I can just say that I have seen people spend a lot more time than some studies suggest. Checking it every five minutes, in the fear of missing something out. The FOMO is very, very real.
I have no idea who this person is, the only point of contact is seeing their stories.
I have no idea who this person is, the only point of contact is seeing their stories.
(Picture Courtesy: Instagram)

No matter how we are in real life, we are all social media perfectionists. The angles, the lights, the background - everything has to be on point!

Photo-ception- Believe me it’s real!
Photo-ception- Believe me it’s real!
(Picture Courtesy: A friend’s Instagram Story)

I remember sitting in campus, doing nothing, with some friends, trust me nothing exciting at all. But when I went home and checked Instagram, I found stories of that very ‘chilling-out session’. But it did not even look close to what I had experienced that afternoon. It looked more happening, more exclusive. It made me want to hang out with those people, except that I was one of those people.

Stories can sometimes make the mundane look surreal. And watching that facade, more often than not, can make other people sad. People who look at the stories, but have probably never done those things themselves.

It can make themselves feel like shit.

It has made me feel like shit on more occasions than I can care to remember.

People live wallpapers, I <i>toh</i> can’t even live my own life properly.
People live wallpapers, I toh can’t even live my own life properly.
(Picture Courtesy: An acquaintance’s Instagram)

“I am home curled up in my bed.. I know I have a sad life”

Even though I love just being at home I feel I need to be somewhere else, doing something else. I feel I’m not really living my life.

‘Keeping Up With The Millennials’

There are good moments, no doubt. You are happy, partying, travelling, in short-living the good life. And there is absolutely no harm in sharing that aspect. But altering your life or rather the way you live it?

“Altering lives? Aren’t I being a bit too dramatic?”

Actually I am not, here’s why.

Instagram stories has our hearts and souls in its palm.

A study conducted this year says that more than one third of millennials aimed to deceive their followers by posting social media images from vacations and trips that made them look better than they actually are!

This person probably does not even know I exist.
This person probably does not even know I exist.
(Picture Courtesy: An acquaintance’s Instagram)

This deception, this facade, is integral to the very concept but in two years, Instagram Stories left all its competition way behind.

Yes, SnapChat was doing it much before them but Instagram took it a notch above with innovation after innovation. And like a 5-year-old in a toy shop we can’t stop us from wanting every piece of it.

Life did not have to feel like you are in a reality show, living under the constant eye of cameras, trying to gain the whole world’s validation, but it does.

“InstaAnxiety Is Also Very Real”

You are happily sitting at home, doing nothing. You think about checking Instagram, just cuz!

The first story you see is a bunch of friends and/or acquaintances hanging out without you. And that’s how you get to know-you are not invited.

Might seem very trivial or petty but it can deeply affect you on a personal level. Now these people would not probably have bothered putting that meet on their Instagram feed ( because, careful curation) but Instagram stories offer a much more casual outlet.

<i>Sab hi </i>food photographer <i>hain ab!</i>
Sab hi food photographer hain ab!
(Photo Courtesy: A social influencer’s Instagram)

Then you keep watching stories ( with the mild OCD I have, I have, at times, finished seeing all stories.)

There comes travel, vacations, cafes, good food with a generous dose of foreign locales sprinkled across.

You start feeling bad, then you feel worse and ultimately you decide you are a loser, a loser with no life, no friends, no fun stuff.

This transition of snuggling happily in your bed to hating your life, yourself and everything about it, can be brought out by Insta stories.

Still taking recommendations for places I will never go to.
Still taking recommendations for places I will never go to.
(Picture Courtesy:A friend’s Instagram)

Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, says that wanting to present our best selves on Instagram Stories is a mixture of aspiration and the human need to be validated and accepted by others, but rarely involves acting “authentically and without self-consciousness.”

It makes you preoccupied with self-presentation, to the point where it interferes with other goals or dominates self-value, reflects issues with low self-esteem and confidence.

Some do it organically, some do it to compete with others who are doing it. It’s almost a vicious cycle.

What we have to accept is that life is not perfect or aesthetically pleasing. It’s not supposed to be. We have to look beyond what social media feeds us because at the end of the day...

Mental health >>>>> Social media validation!

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