I've been on Instagram long enough to see the patterns. When I first started properly posting to my account I was frustrated with the quality of my photos. I'm not a professional photographer by any stretch but I wondered why mine were so bad compared to everyone else's. It put me off posting things for a long time. I started to hate Instagram and all the shiny happy people with all their beautiful lifestyle photography. Then I decided I didn't give a shit. I stopped worrying about my aesthetic and just posted whatever I felt like. I tried to make it nice but I wasn't worried about it looking beautiful anymore because I knew it would never be one of those aspirational Instagram shots. I became OK with that. Then I recently had a revelation.
My Instagram account was the other kind of account. Wait what am I talking about? There are loads of different types of accounts, you say. Well there are but they can all be categorised into two types:
We all know the Beautiful Things™ accounts. They show us gorgeous living rooms, stunning travel photos and lithe models in yoga poses. They are selling their products, a lifestyle and even themselves. Their feed is curated within an inch of its life. They are what we all want to be and look like.
It took me a while to realise that I was in the Interesting People™ category. As much as I admired these aspirational Instagram accounts I knew that would never really be me. I love a beautiful photo as much as the next person but a lot of these accounts left me feeling cold. I couldn't really connect to them. I had no idea who was behind the account and what they actually thought. They were saying all the right things but in an almost robotic, programmed way. I realised that all of my favourite accounts are full of super rad people with opinions. Of course the most wildly successful Instagram accounts manage to marry the two. They show off their personality alongside the beautiful photography.
But me? I love seeing someone's messy table while they make art or an off centre photo of their drink because they were slightly drunk when they took it. I love captions that talk about how they were crying before they took that photo but now they feel a lot better. I love the real people. I love the messy people. Probably because I am one myself. As much I'm trying to portray myself in a certain way the real me always creeps through. Anyone who has ever watched my Instagram Stories will know this to be true.
I guess this is all to say it's OK to be yourself online. Those who are, generally, are most interesting. They might not be the most popular but they are the ones who have the most to say. Don't worry that your photo isn't perfect. It's you and that's what matters. I try to remind myself of this too when I'm scrolling and seeing all the beautiful lifestyle photos. Especially the business people who have figured it out. And good for them. What's right for them isn't right for everyone.
So here's to us: the messy ones, the ones with umpteen dog photos, the bad lighting selfie takers and all the rest who don't give a shit. You're all rad!