Hi, my name is Alyssa, and I’m an Instagram addict. No, really. Ask any of my friends, and they’ll tell you I’m obsessed. I’m that girl who makes everyone wait to start eating at a restaurant, just so that I can stand up on my chair and get the perfect tablescape shot. Okay, sorry guys, you can eat now.
As much as I love that little orange notification bubble — and the feeling when I adjust the saturation just right on that rooftop sunset — I wish Instagram didn’t influence me as much as I hate to admit it does. Have you noticed that the app has suddenly turned everyone into a “photographer?” It’s awesome that we can all be creative and put our oh-so-unique personal vision out into the world. But, we also all have that friend who got lucky with a filter, broke 100 likes, and now is all, “Yeah, I think I want to be a photographer.”
There are clearly more obvious reasons why this time-sucking app is kind of the worst. Remember that time you really needed to do laundry, and instead you fell into a black hole of stalking your boyfriend’s ex back to 132 weeks ago? It’s okay; it happens to the best of us. Instagramming has practically become an olympic sport: How far back can you creep on someone without accidentally liking one of their photos? Oh, the adrenaline!
How about the time you somehow wasted 30 precious morning minutes trying to get the perfect #wokeuplikethis selfie, ended up hating every single one, and showed up late to work? Is that just me? No. No, it's not. And, to be honest, I don’t even remember the last time I enjoyed a meal, or even an entire vacation, without thinking about how I would "frame" it.
I’m not an image-obsessed jerk at heart, but Instagram just about turns me into one. Does that make me a terrible person? Probably not, but it does make me pretty distracted sometimes. Not to get all “live in the moment” here, but seriously, I sometimes have to remind myself to stop worrying about running out of battery at a concert and missing a potential 300-liker opportunity.
Other people's posts influence me, too. I can’t even tell you how many times I was scrolling innocently through my feed before bed and spotted some pair of shoes I absolutely had to buy. Instagram’s not just for #OOTD posts and snapshots from Cancun; it’s one more way companies get us to spend money. Sure, it's fun to scope out new brands and get inspired style-wise, but now I don’t even know if I actually want those Adidas that are making a comeback, or if I just want to Instagram them on my feet. And, at this point, I’ve started to unfollow half of the bloggers on my feed just because I can’t stand to see one more Chanel Le Boy bag or all-expenses-paid tropical vacation.
Admittedly, one thing I do love about Instagram is the sense of community it brings to so many different hobbies and interests. There are The Fashion-Obsessed, The Concert-Goers, The Foodies, The Jokesters, The All-I-Post-Is-Pics-Of-My-Baby people. I’m not even ashamed to admit the amount of time I’ve spent watching video after video of the #hoopersofinstagram (yes, that’s a thing). Everyone has a place — and a hashtag — in the wide world of Instagram. Plus, my life would probably be kind of sad if it weren’t for Shrampton and Darcy The Flying Hedgehog.
Instagram allows us to have a voice in whatever it is we’re interested in, and follow cute baby animals to boot. But, what I can’t stand is the sense of calculated competition that comes with it. I’ve even overheard friends complaining that one girl made it to the newest coffee shop — and Instagrammed it — before they did. This is how you know it's gone too far. That coffee shop is still there, people. You can still go.
Maybe Miley was right — maybe Instagram is really ruining our brains. But, whether due to inspiration or procrastination, you’ll probably never get me to quit. Still, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.