A few days ago I watched a video clip called The Agony of Instagram. Click on the link if you want to watch it for yourself. It's basically another story about social media envy, which we've all heard many times over. This time they're saying it's not from Facebook or Twitter, but from Instagram. That caught my attention because I am fairly new to Instagram. I was very much a late-comer to that site, and I didn't join until a long time after most of my friends did. However, being the photo-freak I am, I quickly passed up most of my friends in posting. As you can see above, I've put up 2,771 pictures. I'm sure that number will be higher by the time you actually read this blog. I kind of like taking photographs ... well, duh.
The video talks about people being jealous when it comes to seeing friends posting particularly good pictures of family photos, dinner spreads, etc. Do you feel that way? I don't. I'm not jealous of anyone's photos. Well, maybe when I see the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with his way-to-young-for-him model girlfriend ... but that's another story. I love seeing people's photos, and it doesn't matter if they're perfect or not. The ones that are perfect looking just impress me. I'm more like, "Dang, that's a great shot!" If anything, it makes me want to try harder to improve my own photography skills — not make me jealous thinking my friends are better photographers or that they have nicer things. And besides, what's nice to one might not be as nice to another. I have friends with beautifully decorated Christmas trees with antique ornaments. Mine is filled with kids' crafts. I saw friends post gorgeous Thanksgiving tables with exquisite, fine china. Mine had paper plates and pine cone turkeys. What IS perfect anyway?
Not everyone feels the same way. I'm sure there is a huge percentage of people on Instagram who aren't into photography at all. I'd bet there are many who just like snapping a quick picture and posting it. There are the professionals though, and each image they post is a work of art. I see a lot of those, but I'm not jealous, I'm more often impressed. Photography is just as much of an art-form as it is a skill. Most photographers take dozens of photographs just to get one they're satisfied with. I certainly wouldn't call myself a photographer in any professional sense of the word — it's a hobby for me. I joke and call myself an Indoor Wildlife Photographer because some of my best shots are taken from inside the house through a dirty window. Others are taken from the passenger seat of our car while we're driving 70mph. The trick is editing them to make them look cool. Like any other photographer, I often take many pictures just to get one that I'll post. The same goes for "selfies" (I hate that word), and often times I take dozens before I get one I'm actually willing to put up. Do I use filters to make them look better? Of course. Who wouldn't want to look like they have perfect skin over a bunch of freckles?
The video talks about FOMO, which stands for the Fear Of Missing Out. Just the fact that someone is being paid to study this makes my head spin. It makes me wonder where the money came from — tax-payers, probably. It's interesting how they say young men are the most affected by FOMO, but the guy doing the study doesn't really know why. I did like how the co-founder of Flickr said, "Social software is both the creator and the cure of FOMO. It's cyclical." I thought that was a very interesting comment, and certainly a much glass-half-full way of seeing things, verses the Oxford study that focused only on the negative.
I've had people tell me things about my pictures, such as how great my hair looks. Yeah, it did for that one particular shot, which is why I posted that one. Or, how nice and clean my house looks. I'm not a neat-freak, but I certainly won't post a photograph of my living room when it's trashed, which is usually is. Or, how perfect looking my Christmas tree is. Lighting, angles, and filters are wonderful things, aren't they? So, this whole jealousy thing is silly to me. Maybe it's not to others, but it is to me. What might look like a "perfect photo" to one person usually isn't. Some people just try harder to make it appear that way. Is that fake or giving a false sense of something? Maybe ... maybe not. Go look at any magazine and I bet you what you see isn't really how it was when they photographed it.
What do you think — do photographs make you jealous or feel like you're missing out?