We don’t have to tell you that Instagram is great.
Everyone’s favorite app lets you snap pictures of your favorite things and share them with the world, instantly and effortlessly.
Make an exceptionally delicious-looking breakfast? Post it. Find a killer new outfit? Post it. Are you finally going on that amazing vacation you’ve been talking about since last year? You better believe those pictures are getting posted.
Crop your life to perfection.
The flip side to being able to share only the most fun/beautiful/interesting aspects of life is that it lets you totally curate your image—right down to posing and rearranging things over and over until they’re just perfect for the picture.
You can also leave specific things out of your photos. When a post shows the user enjoying a picturesque beach all by themselves, chances are there were Speedo-clad strangers all over the place.
Instagram pics are all about timing and angles, plus that really convenient “edit” option in the app. These tools allow you to focus on the smoothie you just made, and not the messy desk that it’s sitting on.
Get by with a little help from your friends.
Cropping out unwanted guests lets anyone post the perfect Instagram photo, but it’s not the only trick. “Selfies” are rarely just that. The app lets you hide any secret “help” on your shots. Be wary of anyone posing in a headstand or handstand when you can’t see their feet. Someone might be just out of frame, holding the “yoga master” up.
But the audience isn’t the only one fooled. Having to make everything perfect for every social media post can become totally overwhelming. Too many of us end up stressing out over how many likes and shares we get. That takes all the fun out of sharing pics.
Don’t fall prey to FOMO.
Lately, Instagram has been catching a lot of slack, with people claiming the app is the cause of FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. The best way to stave off FOMO is to remember that these pictures are virtually always doctored. What you see on Instagram is usually just the best of hundreds of pics. Then it gets run through a filter (or several). The end result makes you envious, but you’re envying something that doesn’t really exist.
These days, people even go to incredible lengths to make themselves look more appealing and popular in their posts by “renting friends.” There is Japanese company, Real Appeal, that allows you to rent one person, or a group, to do a photoshoot with you or even attend an event.
So if you’re feeling a little left out, don’t worry! The pictures you see online have probably gone through a lot of planning and scrutiny to make you feel that way. If your social media is actively making you upset, it’s best to take a break and walk away from it for a while. Your friends won’t know what they’re missing out on!