Recently I took a step back from social media and tried a digital detox. Wait, what do you mean, you didn’t notice? (Of course you didn’t. Because you’re busy with your lives. Except for that one kind e-mail asking if my account had been hacked.)
What led me to such a (perhaps) “overdramatic” step?
There, I said it. At first I delighted in them. I loved their easy impermanence. And that, unlike Snapchat, I could make it look like I had captured a magical moment—because you can recapture over and over until you’re happen with your “instant” capture. But with a little perspective I feel they turn us into 5 month olds. AT BEST.
Let me explain … I believe social media is like a baby seeing a tsunami of flashcards. There are a bunch of different pictures of animals and each one is so, SO colorful and we gurgle and squeal when we see some (the duck wearing Chanel who can juggle, in particular) but we frown at the elephant because the elephant is so … normal and unrehearsed. I feel like Instastories—much like Pinterest—puts us into a state of denial/fantasy where we believe a Chanel-wearing, juggling duck is normal. But she’s not.
And it’s a time thing. A time suck. We could have all learned a few new skills by now instead of brainwashing ourselves with social media. Like Mandarin. I could have been fluent in Mandarin by now. Okay, maybe not fluent, but able to order a Starbucks and tell the barista about my day if I had only laid off the ‘swiping and double tap addiction’ as it’s clinically referred to.
So, it’s not like I want Instastories eradicated from planet Earth, here’s what I realized I find Too Much-Too Fake on my feed. Instead of FOMO I have TMTF.
1. Other people’s meals/kids all day. Does that sound bad? I mean I do, but not all day long. It’s meant to be a mini-story and often it’s just raw footage. That’s not gripping enough to suck up my time or distract me from reading something real, like a book (I just started 40 Languages of Love, FYI). Sure it depends on who you’re following but still I had to make that point because you also don’t want to be out of the loop. I mean, what else would we complain about if we weren’t following these insta famous peeps.
2. I don’t need the weather forecast. “Windy” is useless and adds absolutely nothing to my day. Please don’t post it. I can see from your hair blowing in the wind. But in reality, it’s totally useless information for me to know. The same can be said of the “Brrrrr” posts with your boots in snow.
3. I don’t need to see your feet walking with the comment, “Gymming today.” Why do you—and I—feel the need to share this? I’ll tell you and please say it with me. Valiiiiii valiiii validation!!! High five. I am totally guilty of this one, but to be honest, it’s my way to say that working out is the only thing keeping me sane these days.
4. Stop taking pictures of your feet and toes at the pool. Just stop. Do you want people in Sweden who are still freezing their ass off to hate you? Because they do. I checked with Sweden and it snowed on May 9th. It’s no longer funny.
5. If one more person on turns the camera around and says, “Hi guys…. (insert whatever they’re working on:) today I opened a Bic pen all by myself! Stay tuned big things coming… it’s exciting.” Is it truly exciting???
6. Stop filming yourself in the mirror getting your hair done. All it does is remind me to color my roots and stop coloring them in with my mascara.
7. I’m impressed with those who claim they are going against the grain and try to come across as real. I really am with you on this. But please stop doing that open wide-eyed look. It’s forced. It’s funny… but also forced! I doubt you managed to capture your sleeping baby in the back of the car AND your entire face with that expression in ONE take. Keep it real by being real?
8. Anyone who travels always shows the silver lining of it all. With extended love letters to, “Newwwww YorrrrrrKKKKK.” Yes, we get it. And I love how you never mention the latest tropical cyclone to destroy whole islands. “Magicaaaallllll” and “happpyyy vibes” is instead what I’m forced to read.
9. Who started this whole, “vibes” trend? Happy vibes, weekend vibes. Where do I find some? I’m kinda in the middle of “sleeplessness vibes,” “vomit vibes,” and “who pooped? vibes.” Same same, but different.
10. Can we see a whole lot less of the jargon? “Those cheeks” “This” “But first, coffee”—when did our vocabulary dumb down to a handful of clichés? I’m not sure but I want to try and stop.
So I challenge you. Let’s launch #tuesdaystantrums. A revolution, if you will. I want see Instatories that manage to capture one real raw moment. Not stories and posts that make me suspect someone’s husband had to kiss someone’s cheek 19 times before the lighting was deemed good enough. Not the ones that make me feel like anyone over 20 isn’t good enough to be seen in public.
Let’s gurgle and squeal over a few real, normal, unrehearsed elephants instead of the juggling ducks.
Ni hao ma, mamas—peace out.
Stay tuned for next week’s post on what I WANT to see (and try and post more of) on Instastories. And send me what you really really really want to see from my side.