The other day, coming out from a lecture, someone I know stopped me in the middle of the hallway and asked me in a whisper: “You work in fashion, do you know by any chance a so and so, who’s also in fashion now and has an Instagram account with almost 70k followers?” Somehow, because of the place we were standing and the conspiracy tone in her voice, the question seemed odd. “I smell a rat”, I thought… I gave her a straight answer, saying I knew that Instagrammer in question, but not well, we had friends in common, but we weren’t friends, just acquaintances.
My prediction that there was more to that innocent question would soon be confirmed. My friend opened her heart passionately. She told me she’d known that influencer for over twenty years, and that suddenly, she had turned into an Instagrammer with 70k followers, that she’d photograph herself in high-end-designer outfits, in the wannabe circuit, impeccable from head-to-toe, including the eternally-perfect manicure, and finally, with a tooth whitening smile on her face. And then she confessed, almost defeated under the burden of the perfect feed: “Where did I go wrong? After a twenty-year marriage, I’m only a wife and mother, with nothing extraordinary to show on Instagram!”
My first reaction was to feel an urge to hug her. How nice to meet someone sincere these days, at the height of the fake world, when even offline you’re not supposed to talk about your weaknesses and insecurities. But before saying anything to my fellow, whom at this stage I could have already called my sister, so intimate was our conversation, I concentrated, trying to control my most base instincts not to turn our hallway chat into a simple and vulgar gossip.
My first advice for when Instagram becomes toxic
- Unfollow her.
Unfollow is my advice to all of us when we start comparing ourselves to other women on Instagram. The comparison is never healthy; comparing is the knob that opens the door to envy. So better leave that door closed. There are thousands of accounts on Instagram that inspire good things, that make us laugh, keep us informed, so at the first sign of unhappiness because you don’t have the same life as the Instagrammer you follow; UNFOLLOW HER. This Insta-envy is a toxic relationship.
My second advice
- Know the social media platform you’re using.
This means know-how Instagram’s algorithm works. Not everything on the most popular social platform at this moment is a hashtag. Instagram has bills to pay, like any other business, and nowadays, to have your photo shared on your followers’ feeds and Instagram’s suggestions, you have to make an ad and boost your post (advisable). For those who believe in shortcuts, there are tens of services where one can buy followers (non-advisable).
On social media, the only truly organic thing is the avocado toast and Açaí bowl. Even Chiara Ferragni, one of the most well-known influencers, who is nowadays really organic, advertised her posts on Instagram. So, knowing how the platform works, it’s easy to recognise who is fake, who is inflating her own business with hot air.
My third advice
- You are always extraordinary.
Going back to the hallway and my bosom friend, the fact that she’s celebrating a 20-year marriage, that’s already something extraordinary these days, isn’t it? I know her well, she has three beautiful children and a lovely husband, who happens to be her best friend too, with whom she can speak openly about her weaknesses and insecurities, and who is going to hug her as I felt like doing but didn’t.
And now I need to choose the filter Claredon or maybe Juno, to post my text when Instagram becomes toxic on Instagram! Crazy times.