Yesterday I woke up to two articles, both critical of Instagram. The first proclaimed The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over and the second featured an influencer who faked a weekend at Coachella with Photoshop and wigs. Are we fed up with Instagram?
The Instagram aesthetic has long been criticized as promoting an unrealistic view of life. Influencers have become famous by featuring themselves in exotic locales, usually in front of a pink wall, wearing a pretty romper, a box of pastel macarons in hand. The Atlantic article suggests that Instagrammers are moving away from the manufactured perfectionism of the past and instead are posting reality. “It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured,” says 15-year-old Claire.
To underscore this idea, Gabbie Hanna, the influencer in the Mashable article, punked Instagram by Photoshopping herself into a Coachella scene and then later revealed the hoax, helping people to question the societal pressure– the Instagram pressure– to be in the “right” places, wearing the “right” things, with the “right” people.
In the video which accompanies the article, she says, “… don’t base your life off of the few posts a week from your favorite influencer living this glamorous, amazing, colorful, saturated, hip, trendy, amazing life. Because the whole time I was living my best life at Coachella, I was really…sitting in this editing chair.”
I was gratified to see that she credited The Slow Traveler and others for having experimented with the “fake” trip idea. In 2018, Carolyn Stritch faked a trip to Disney to demonstrate how easy it is to manufacture perfection on Instagram.
So is Instagram over? No, but more and more people are valuing authenticity over artifice and, frankly, it’s refreshing.
(Speaking of authenticity, check out Sara Tasker’s new book Hashtag Authentic.)
What does that mean for your business? Should you throw Instagram out of your online marketing plan? No, but your Instagram strategy should include more realness. Speak about your successes as the result of effort, not an easy win. You don’t have to write an overly personal diary entry in order to be relatable; just speak in your own voice, be honest, and credit those who helped you succeed.
Also, allow yourself to have some breathing room by adding light-hearted elements into your feed and grid. Remember, not every photo has to be perfect and neither do you.