The Unrealistic Expectations of Instagram – An International Obsession?

Let’s face it, Instagram is becoming a part of daily life for many people across the world. The number of consumer usage is vastly growing, and it definitely won’t stop anytime soon. Instagram is constantly creating new ways for consumers and businesses to share content. Thus, meaning more ways to use the app and present daily life across a variety of platforms. 

In recent news, the public has been questioning the obsession consumers are having over the app and the way life is represented online. Posting is endless, from where a consumer’s recent lunch date was, to a recent vacation. The expectation for Instagram is to represent daily life flawlessly, and excitably. Cara McGoogan from The Telegraph stated, “we should not let the quest for the perfect Instagram shot dictate every aspect of our lives”. McGoogan’s statement is certainly impactful and relevant regarding the obsession some consumers have over the application. Social influencers that have made a solid career through posting on Instagram are a prime example. There have been members of the public who have attempted such a lifestyle, and ended up in an extreme amount of debt. All for the cost of a “perfect Instagram shot”. 

In March 2018, the Independent wrote an article on Lissette Calveiro, who uprooted from Miami to New York and aspired to live the “Sex and the City dream”. Whilst living in New York, she was interning which covered little costs, which meant she had to spend savings and take on a part-time job. Calveiro told the New York Post “I was shopping… for clothes to take ‘the perfect ‘gram”. As a result of this, Calveiro racked up $10,000 (£7,256) of debt. This expectation of “the perfect ‘gram” post, resulted in a magnitude of debt. Calveiro admitted to “…a lot of the travel i was doing in 2016 was strictly for Instagram”. The commitment for one single app is outstanding, having the ability to spend an extortionate amount purely for the representation of daily life. 

Calveiro is a prime example of the lengths consumers will go to for the perfect Instagram feed. Going back to McGoogan’s article, she quoted, “art should not imitate life – especially if its an inedible seven-stack burger”. Art is an element to be admired or appreciated, rather than something to be attained. Calverio drastically slowed down her spending after realising the dramatic plummet of finances, and managed to pay off her debt by committing to cutbacks. However, this may not be the case for other consumers who are still striving for the perfect portrayed life. Author Tanya Goodin stated, “… this is just another example of how the relentless pressure [to] have a perfect ‘Instagrammable’ life can get seriously out of hand and cause real problems in real life”. 

Instagram is a great platform, but should definitely be used with caution. The app can portray the perfect, yet occasionally unattainable, lifestyles of others. On occasion, it reflects an unhealthy image of how life should be, but consumers do not need to live up to this. We aren’t saying to boycott Instagram, but to use it with caution. All social media should be used to a certain extent, and certainly not to the level of racking up excessive debt just to have an aesthetically pleasing feed. 

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