Real Life: On Instagram

real life vs blog life in the age of social media

It’s no secret that despite anyone’s best efforts, the blog and social media industries create an environment that’s ripe for comparison. If you blog or have an Instagram account, it’s nearly inevitable that at some point, you’ve compared yourself to another person. Sometimes, it can be positive (“This person inspires me to learn more about photography and take better photos” or “That gal always pushes me to integrate new tools/resources that will help my business evolve”), but the reality is, a lot of it can be very negative (“Why don’t I have as many followers as this person?” or “Ugh, my life looks so ugly compared to this blogger’s.”)

I’m always reasonably aware of when the negative feelings are cropping up, but recently, with everything that happened with Lucy, it’s resulted in me reflecting even more deeply about the comparison trap and how I do (or don’t) let it impact me. To be honest, Lucy’s injury came on the heels of what’s been a hellish year, with a lot of difficult things happening in my personal life. I hate to vague blog, but there it is (some of the dramz I can hopefully share with you soon). Anyway, in the days following her surgery, and then her return home, life was crazy chaotic. In that time, as you can imagine, posting on something like Instagram was the least of my worries. Eventually, once we found a new routine and settled in a bit, I returned to the platform to see what had been going on — and it was like I was seeing it with an entirely different lens (ironic, no?). 

When I was away from the platform, I was dealing with an animal in pain, poop accidents multiple times a day, work being put on the back burner, and a generally stressful environment. The beauty and perfection that Instagram presented to me upon my re-entry a week later felt almost jarring — and certainly, in a lot of ways, very inauthentic. I won’t lie — at first, it was nearly repellant. It was hard to relate to perfectly staged outfit posts and food styling shots when my life had been on the opposite end of the spectrum.

But the reality is, no one’s life is ever as perfect as they publish. We know this intellectually, but so much of the “perfection” we see online isn’t real — or, it’s just a tiny, tiny sliver of someone’s life, and leaves out the much bigger picture. The perfectly made bed and arranged nightstand doesn’t show the piles of laundry, the sick parent, and the big life decisions on the other side.

So why participate at all? Well, unfortunately, these types of platforms aren’t going away any time soon; in fact, they’re becoming more and more influential. Social media’s reach continues to grow and expand, and people find new (and often genius and innovative) ways to share themselves online. Which is great. But again, they just choose what parts to share.

oh, instagram

As I’ve been turning all this over in my head the last few weeks, I did a lot of reflecting and decided I wanted to use my own experience as a way to change how I let places like Instagram influence and inspire me. Perhaps this is a harsh admission, but as a very concrete example, I was following a lot of style bloggers, many of whom I don’t know and have never even read their blogs. My truth? Outfit content doesn’t necessarily do that much for me. For one thing, I work from home and am lucky to make it into jeans and a t shirt each day; for another, following a lot of recent changes in my life, something about the forced styling of the images and knowing “how the sausage is made,” so to speak, meant these images began to feel like ads or spam to me. So recently, I started unfollowing a lot of these types of accounts. In their place, I’ve been looking for more design and photography accounts, which can truly inspire me — or at least, help me compare and learn in a “positive” way.

It’s tough though. I’ve often heard talk about how some people are just “better” at certain social media platforms than others — i.e., certain ones might come easier to a person. Instagram is that difficult platform for me. My biggest struggle with it is figuring out how to ride that line of presenting something that is visually appealing (insert sidebar discussion about online brands and marketing yourself), but also isn’t completely fake and inauthentic to my own life. I sit at a desk all day in my apartment, taking a break at lunch to watch a show off the DVR and probably eat something that just arrived from Seamless. There’s nothing groundbreaking or spectacularly beautiful to Instagram in that, let alone on the daily. And yet, how crazy easy it is to make someone believe otherwise. (Another sidebar: I once had someone tell me I should schedule time to go out each day and take photos of things and places that I could then Instagram later. That’s what this has come to.) I think people know that Instagram posts aren’t necessarily all taken real time, and that people’s lives don’t usually look like that. But how easily we all forget it, and get caught up in the dream (if that’s what you even want to call it).

I wrote a version of this post over on The B Bar’s blog (see below), and Jackie left the best comment: “I love Instagram, but I feel a twinge of jealousy when I see people posting pictures from brunch on like, a random Tuesday while I’m at work. Then I feel like, why can’t I be brunching on a Tuesday instead of at work? Which is such an utterly ridiculous thing to think!” We’ve all been there, methinks.

Obviously this is all very personal to my own experience and what works for me and where I am in life or what I find inspiring. But as we close out the year, I think it’s always worth reflecting how we consume in these places that we spend much of our leisure (and sometimes work) hours, especially if they no longer do anything for us. I know many bloggers (and non-bloggers too!) often feel they “have” to do something because everyone else is doing it, and a platform like Instagram is certainly no exception. I’ve been reflecting on ways that I can still play the game, but with my own rules. I’ll let you know if and when I figure it out!

Ok, this was a brain dump of a post, and one I could go on and on about as there are a lot of different angles and considerations. I’m curious how you guys filter out the noise in the places you spend time online, or how you deal when you find yourself falling into a comparison trap. I also would love to hear from bloggers and folks who don’t blog alike, because honestly, sometimes I feel like this industry is like alternate universe and having third party observers’ input brings everybody back down to planet Earth.

PS – One more admission: I wrote a version of this post yesterday over on The Well, but figured it was the kind of thing that was perfect for a Real Life post too; plus, it’s just been weighing so heavily on my mind that I wanted to share and hear from everyone over here. I’ve edited it a little and expanded based off my original post, which is part of our Word of the Month series (this month’s word is Reflect).


Image: via Death to the Stock Photo, with graphics added by Victoria McGinley; second image from my Instagram, with commentary added for this post ;)


  1. 12.10.14
    Jess said:

    This post really resonated with me, and I know how personal stress can definitely impact how you perceive social media. For me, it’s a nice outlet. I like to take photos of food, documenting my running adventures, and so on. But I don’t spend all that much time “styling” anything.

    I all but stopped reading fashion and lifestyle blogs (with a few exceptions) when I quit blogging at my old blog. I found it very tiresome. The seemingly perfect and coherent blog posts and Instagrams felt tired, as did all the sponsorships and affiliate links. (Nothing wrong with any of those things in moderation, it just felt like there wasn’t anything real.) Now that I’m back into the blogging world with a brand ambassadorship, I’m trying to be clear and transparent so readers and followers aren’t blindsided by anything inauthentic.

    Here’s how I dealt with it – I ruthlessly culled. I regularly weed through my Instagram and Twitter to cull what doesn’t bring me joy. (This follows a reading of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.) I know that it’s not always possible to unfollow, but I tried hard to do away with what stressed me out or made me feel unhappy.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing (and reading this rambly comment). I hope things improve for you with personal stuff, and hope Lucy is feeling better.

  2. 12.10.14

    Amen, sister! I’ve recently started unfollowing some fashion/beauty bloggers as well, for pretty much the same reason. I used to really love Instagram, but it had become a form of stupid stress. (“There’s no way I could pull off looking that fabulous without spending a fortune”/ “It’s 20 degrees out and she’s looking all adorable in that skirt? HOW!?” kind of thing). So, I’ve been trying to tailor my feed to what makes me happy. I always have to laugh at the stress we create for ourselves – usually it’s so pointless. Reality checks are a good thing :)

  3. 12.10.14
    Katherine said:

    You are a total inspiration and this post is beautiful. Here’s to an incredible 2015 for you & your lovely fam! xxx

  4. 12.10.14
    Cory said:

    I have unfollowed almost all fashion bloggers. The perfectly styled nightstands and designer clothes that no “normal” person can afford were getting annoying. Thanks for writing and posting this!

  5. 12.10.14

    Oh it’s as if we share the same mind. I just wrote a post about my need to detox from social media, Instagram in particular.
    I was really beginning to lose my sense of self because I was so busy comparing my life to other peoples’.
    The sad part is that, as you said, most of what is on there is so staged!
    Good to know I am not the only one feeling this way.
    Best of luck with the new year and I pray that all the drama fades and leave a bright sparkling new future.

  6. 12.10.14

    I loved & so related with this post. Someone close to us passed away this week very unexpectedly and it really made me take a step back and evaluate – in that moment, after we received the news, I didn’t want to look at perfectly styled images on Instagram or think about what buying more sweaters for the winter. Because none of it truly matters in the scheme of things. Life is fleeting and we should focus & spend our energies on what is truly lasting & valuable…which is family & relationships.

  7. 12.10.14
    HMC said:

    I completely agree with this–there had been times when I looked at my plethora of instagram pics and think that I need to work on making everything prettier, and then I kicked myself: this is my life. It’s not perfectly styled, it’s mostly pictures of my dog and food, and that’s okay.

  8. 12.10.14
    Nyc said:

    Love when bloggers can actually sit back and talk about real life like this. My fiancé and I regularly make jokes every fashion blogger and the typical instgram post of: flowers, coffee, apple product, “it” book or magazine and a desirable accessory. In the world of fashion bloggers, there has been a loss of originality (and even personality) as everyone is making sure they fit the “mold.” As time goes by, as someone who has a understanding of…how did you put it, “how the sausage is made” its really hard to not be somewhat disgusted (at least I am.) I have a love/hate relationship with a few bloggers I follow – its one of those, can’t take your eyes off the train wreck, kind of things. I keep thinking there is going to eventually be some type of push back to growing number of overtly sponsored posts. I mean, girl wears nothing but designer pieces ALL the time and then does a post for Old Navy? Please. You don’t wear Old Navy.

    But I digress – I enjoy your voice in a sea of unoriginality. You’re not afraid to just be real. :)

  9. 12.10.14

    I just can’t even tell you how much I LOVE this post. As a food blogger, I see it come through in perfect food photos, brunches out and fancy ingredients styled perfectly on a Tuesday afternoon (#foodblogger #lovemyjob). While I’m not discounting the fact that some people are living a pretty awesome life (I would LOVE to blog full time!), it seems like it’s becoming less of a sharing platform and more of a styling one. I have also found myself looking around while on a walk and thinking ‘What can I Instagram?’ instead of enjoying the walk. Same goes for eating out, which should really be reveled in and enjoyed, but sometimes I just feel the need to post a perfect picture of the table, rather than the people I am sitting at it with. Whew, ok that was a lot, but in short, I’m happy you wrote this and I feel you sister!

  10. 12.10.14

    It’s awful getting caught up in the Instagram comparison game. It seems to be the worst for me. Awhile back, I found myself taking one too many photos to get the “perfect” shot and it’s alarming how time consuming it got to be! That doesn’t mean I’m not okay with styled shots, I just think it’s important to be aware of time and realize that a little imperfection in the post can make it that much more real to your followers.

    p/s I read an article today on AdWeek about how Instagram is about to do a purge of fake/spammy accounts which I’m excited about. I block those things like crazy.

  11. 12.10.14
    Lindsey said:

    I couldn’t agree more. I love scrolling through Instagram, but often also find myself wondering how people have time to meticulously arrange items on their floor or be at brunch on a Tuesday or always eat breakfast in bed (is that even really fun?). Since I work in a corporate job during the day, my “instagram worthy” moments each day are pretty limited, too. As always, thanks for being bold enough to write what so many of us are thinking.

  12. 12.10.14

    Love how you articulated this post, V! Cheers to you!

    I try to limit what I intake on social media somedays, if that makes sense. While what I ‘gram is for my followers, what I take in is for me. So I have unfollowed and cleansed many of my social media profiles so I don’t intake too many things that make me feel inadequate, bad, ect…

  13. 12.10.14
    Sonya said:

    Posts like this one are why I love reading your blog. YOU are authentic. I never feel like you are presenting some perfect life to readers because your posts seem nice, funny, and from the heart. You don’t have this overly “curated” (to use a blogger-fave word, ugh) posts or photos.

  14. 12.10.14

    everyone has already said everything, so i’ll make it quick: great post! ;)

  15. 12.10.14
    Natalie said:

    Oh, Victoria, how I love you so. You’ll always be one of my favorite gals for laying down the real talk. This is something I struggle with all the time. I still compare from time to time, but I’m able to snap out of it pretty quickly nowadays. I’ve actually gotten bored with a lot of my feed recently because it’s all so similar. My biggest struggle is, like you mentioned, finding that balance between posting what’s real but also what’s visually appealing. I’m constantly questioning how I can post engaging content while also remaining authentic.

  16. 12.10.14

    I’ve unfollowed a lot of fashion bloggers recently because I can’t relate to them all that much. To begin with I can’t afford anything most of them wear and I don’t have to get all dolled up everyday to go to work. I wear Uggs, jeans, and a t-shirt everyday to work. And I know it’s not ok to judge but some fashion bloggers come off as not down to earth on their instagram accounts. I like to follow more everyday type bloggers. I can relate more to that.

  17. 12.10.14

    Tell it girlfriend!!!! :)

  18. 12.10.14
    Kimberly said:

    For me, the comparison trap was always the worst with Facebook because these were people I knew at one point or another (I didn’t follow many business/blog accounts). In my mind, these were people that were “on my level” and I could always justify falling in the comparison trap. I recently spent about 3 months off Facebook and it might have been the best thing I ever did. First off, I discovered how seriously addicted I was to it in the first place (i.e. checking it from bed first thing in the morning). I was horrified. The urge to check the app/website slowly subsided and I got to a point where I wasn’t missing it in my daily routine. Sure I missed some actually important life updates from my friends & family, but I found out sooner than later and really enjoyed hearing them over a phone conversation rather than a status update. A few weeks ago, I logged back on and my whole perspective about the site changed. Now, I find myself amused by what people are sharing on the site and have yet to find myself in that place of comparison. The best part, though, is that whole weekends go by and I don’t have the urge to log on! Those Friday nights in would be the worst because I would always compare my situation to people who were out and about having what appeared to be a great time. Now I can identify that I needed a night in for myself and no one else should have an influence on that.

    Wow, that was so much longer than anticipated! And while it isn’t about Instagram, I can totally relate to the comparison trap via Facebook. These posts are so refreshing and discuss such an important topic…you can’t judge a book by it’s cover (or a person by their social media feed)!

  19. 12.10.14

    This is a challenge for many of us. I feel as though my Instagram is far more personal, but I lack that “follow me around and take amazing pix of me in Beyonce-worthy settings” in my life. My husband can’t take a decent pic to save his life. But… I feel your pain. Comparison truly is the thief of joy. I tend to push content for my own pleasure rather than to please anyone else. Thanks for sharing your personal struggle. I assume many if not all of us can relate.

  20. 12.10.14
    Rachelle said:

    Lol I keep a lot of blogger on my IG only because that’s how I follow them. I think Instagram is great, I really do but unfortunately I am a working girl with lots to do. I pretty much run my blog fulltime as well, so my IG feed is my blog content and snippets of my real life. I love to cook so you might see a foodie post here and there. I buy flowers maybe every 3-4 months so if I remember I may snap a pic, there. Maybe I will never have tons of followers that way but hey.

  21. 12.10.14
    Alyssa said:

    This has also been on my mind lately — I’m not a blogger, instagrammer, or even a user of social media, but I realized recently that sitting with coffee in the morning with my computer is prime time to get sucked into blog after blog, instagram after instagram account, which inevitably leaves me feeling lacking — and I live a block away from the beach in Santa Cruz, CA!

    Due to a recent change in my work schedule I work in the mornings with people with substance abuse and mental illness. Working in the mornings and working in an environment where I literally CANNOT be in front of a computer has been liberating and helped me to realize the alternate universe the blogosphere creates. I now only read blogs a couple times a week, and focus more on getting outside, cooking with my clients and ultimately connecting with the things that bring me joy. I’ve found more contentment with what I have and while it’s still a long road, it’s nice to feel like I’m growing into my own :)

  22. 12.10.14
    Alison said:

    I agree 100%. Thank you for your honesty! I deleted my personal Facebook account several years ago because it felt like too much. Instagram is a little less personal for me, because I feel like I can scroll through quickly, and don’t feel obligated to like or comment. In my opinion, it is less intense. Still, though, I find myself feeling “less than” frequently. Why aren’t I that creative? Why doesn’t my home/body/face/wardrobe/cooking/house look like hers? We all have to have our boundaries, and I have to say, I don’t miss Facebook AT ALL. Not even a little. I love Instagram, because even though there are moments when I feel less than and wish I could be more like someone else, I also get a lot of inspiration from other people’s passion and beauty.

  23. 12.10.14
    Arina said:

    “…why can’t I be brunching on a Tuesday instead of at work?”

    I actually took a month off from social media because I started to feel like that all the time, and Instagram just became so depressing. It felt like everyone else’s lives were perfect, and I just wasn’t keeping up.

    I actually spent some time really thinking about it, and I came to these conclusions:

    1. I like my job and class schedule. I’ve had summers off, and I was able to brunch on a Tuesday, and I was miserably bored after just a few months. It seems like a great life, especially when things are tense or hectic at work, but that life isn’t an ideal fit for me.

    2. I can’t compare my entire life to mere snippets of someone else’s. We Instagram the good moments of our lives, and that is awesome — it is good to dwell on the good! Even if someone else looks like they are having the best life ever, they still have rough bits. The sick family members, the stressful days, or the people that they can never seem to impress.

  24. 12.11.14

    This couldn’t have more perfect timing! I was sharing this same discussion with Randy the other day. He is not a social media person at all whereas I am, but more in the sense of looking at other’s social media rather than posting a lot myself. I have an Instagram account as well as Facebook and I find myself occasionally wondering the same questions as to why other friends on FB have more likes/comments on an otherwise mundane post and mine seem lacking in more likes. Or on Instagram how everyone manages to be so talented at taking better Instagram photos than I can manage to do myself.

    To be honest, I get on to myself for not posting more images of interiors as an interior designer to where I could be receiving more likes on Instagram. But truth be told, I also do a lot of work from home in my pajamas and think how ridiculous I might look to someone on the outside if I were taking time out just to arrange a vignette just to have something swoon worthy to post to the IG masses.

    I used to do the comparison thing and it still gets to me from time to time, but I’ve found a way to beat it. Every time I feel myself wishing my life looked more perfectly ‘styled’ and supposedly ‘photo-worthy’ I quickly start making a list of all the best things in my life that someone on the outside might view as something to be jealous of me for if I photographed all of it and then I think about how all those things could never be summed up into a perfectly styled IG account. Because as much as these IG feeds look like someone’s perfect life, there’s nothing IG could do to perfectly capture the sound of my husband’s laugh or the plain fact that I have such a great husband, or how an image still can never capture the real twinkles in my dogs’ eyes, or any number of other great things in my life that are worth cherishing more than wishing I had one of the lives of these people on IG. Because if you stop and think for a second about all the things you could style to give that ‘perfect’ perception to everyone else – those are the important moments in my life I’d rather keep for myself than give away to the world in an Instagram feed.

  25. 12.11.14

    This is why you have a great following. Because you’re authentic on the blog, instagram, etc and off of it (bold statement since I don’t actually know you… but somehow I think this must be true ;) )! This post is exactly what makes you successful as a blogger, not your pretty instagram photos. It’s easy to forget sometimes that we are not our perfect instagram avatars – just real, messy, good people. Don’t sweat it!

  26. 12.11.14
    Stephanie said:

    I totally get where you’re coming from. And just as they choose what to post, we can choose who to follow. Fashion bloggers/style photos never really did much for me but I find other photographers and designers to be inspirational and interesting. I also like following people who show more “real life” photos where not everything is staged and perfect – it’s much more relatable. And cute animals always make me smile too. :) Just like other areas in life, we have to be careful to expose ourselves to things that cultivate positive feelings in ourselves, not negative things like jealousy or envy. I think you’re taking the right approach. :)

  27. 12.11.14
    Nnenna said:

    I read the post over on the B Bar and then I came over here. I really enjoy when you do these discussion style posts. Generally I really like Instagram and enjoy scrolling through the pretty pictures, but like everyone, I’ve fallen into the comparison trap from time to time. Just like Jackie said, usually it happens when I’m doing something tedious at work, then I see a pretty picture of brunch or a snap of a building in Europe and think, “Why can’t I be doing something fun right now?” That kind of thinking doesn’t help me, or anyone really. I’m somewhat picky about who I follow- usually it’s friends or brands/bloggers that I really love and feel a connection with. Reading this has made me want to go through and get rid of those accounts that I don’t enjoy anymore. Thank you for this thoughtful discussion!

  28. 12.11.14

    Thanks for writing this and I can totally relate. I still feel new to the blogging world and have a hard time jumping into the social media flurry as seamlessly as I see a lot of others do. It just doesn’t feel natural and I don’t want this online image to be fabricated. But then I get another rationale side of how social media can really help the growth of a blog. That then gets me into an area of “Why did this blogger experience so much success so early” or similar questions. The slope is slippery.

    All in all, I’m working on developing an authentic presence and be opened up to a world that can genuinely and respectfully relate to one another. I am hoping that is what contributes to a little blog growth too:)

  29. 12.11.14
    Kaitlyn said:

    I can totally relate to this! If I see someone on instagram constantly posting “arrangments” of some sort, i.e. their eggs and a witty coffee mug with a pink pencil and peonies on a stark white background i am instantly turned off. Sure it works sometimes but just to go through an instagram and see that pic after pic is so boring and almost sterile to point of creepy. (maybe thats to harsh) but it just really irks me to see that again and again. There doesn’t have to be a flower or something sparkly in everything to convey your personality! We get it – your stylish and have a good sense of design and arrangement so just post whatever you want I say…

    Also I think it must be a strange feeling to be on social media and not post things that you were really happy about in the moment, or want to share with intimate people in your circle but don’t think it’s attractive or trendy enough for your 3k followers.

  30. 12.11.14
    Nicola said:

    This post comes and a perfect time for me. I’ve just started a blog (it is 4 days old, come and give me some love if you’re so kind!) and I didn’t know what to do with my Instagram account – which is nothing special by the way!

    Up until now, my insta was a mix of silly selfies, nights out with friends and holidays with family, along with wannabe styled shots that I wanted to use to reflect my style and personality because, as we do these days, we are all kind of a personal brand and I have known I wanted to start a blog for a while, so it was dipping my to in that water.

    I am learning the ropes with prop styling, photo styling and photography as a whole so I am interested in the peony and mug pics that Kaitlyn has mentioned but the more perfect the composition/light/balance over an instagram pic is is – the less I compare myself to their life but I compare my photography to their photography – which i feel is a healthier place to be in. I know my sausage legs in pajamas don’t look as long on those white egyptian cotton sheets as yours do, but how did you get that lovely light and airy feel to your photo – is kind of what’s going on in my head!

    A completely different story when it comes to fashion bloggers though. I LOVE to follow them but can/could never afford to keep up with their constant influx of luxe newness, it’s insane. I am totally GUILTY -at being jelly welly then. I see myself tip over the edge of admiration of style in to hideous jealously of their stuff. Urgh, so not nice.

    So what have I done with my instagram in the light of my new blog? I changed the name of my insta account to match my new blog name (@WestFifteenth if you are interested) so that I could keep my engaged followers (ha – the few that aren’t friends and family!) and I will migrate away from personal shots that don’t reflect my blog (ie pics of friends weddings/birthdays) and I have started a second totally private Instagram account to host my silly selfies, friend and family shenanigans. It all sounds too much work as it is, but I have lived in London Sydney and now New York and I love love love keeping in touch with real friends and family on Insta, so I needed to find a way to make it work for my real life and what I see as being my bubble life which is where i go to find escapism, inspiration and hope to attract like-minded people with my account.

    If anyone has any thoughts on my jekyll and hyde tactics, I would love to hear, I am on a learning curve and eager to learn!


  31. 12.11.14
    victoria said:

    Great post. I agree with you on many points here. I love Instagram for its inspiration, but alas, it can be quite a time suck. And like you, I often compare myself to other bloggers (how the heck do they have so many followers/likes? My pictures are way better!). But to your point, the photos are often romanticized and just a snapshot of a sliver of their lives.

    I started Instagram purely to drive traffic to my blog (I don’t think it’s doing the job though), so I have a difficult time wanting to integrate my “personal” photos into that account (e.g. photos of my friends and family). And yes, I too am guilty of following many style bloggers without ever visiting their site!

    I don’t know what the secret to growing followers – and like you said, I suppose some people just have a knack for social media more than others. You are right, it isn’t going away, so we might as well embrace it for what it’s worth. We just have to hang tight and treat it as the modern day version of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

    Keep snapping away! A filter will work wonders. =)


  32. 12.12.14

    Ah why this post so related to me? And thanks goodness I found your blog!

    Well I guess there are no secrets anymore when it comes to online world, we are all seem so “naked” in this world. When I first blog in 2006 it was totally different compare to this era. I found it was more interesting to blog in the past than now. Although so much fun and good changes these days, but I still miss the “old me” when I blog whatever I want without think too much about how many comments I’ll get or how people react. And now Instagram world brings another issue. I love scrolling Instagram! I mean, who doesn’t right? I love to see beautiful and colorful photos or maybe peeking someone’s life. Filtered photos are nice, too much edit are totally nay *sorry* ): the problem comes when I start to compare (just a little bit) with other users. But again I agree to your point, it’s all up to people what parts they want to share. We can’t judge people by what they upload on social media, it just a little tiny part of someone’s life.

    Thank you so much for writing this post, Victoria! Much loveee for your blog! I’ll keep eyes on your blog. xoxoJane

  33. 12.12.14

    Girl! You have no idea how much reading this has helped me with my anxiety with my blog! Being a total beginner at this world, and not knowing much about web designing etc., I am constantly looking at other blogs comparing. In my mind I’m thinking, “why can’t I write something as inspiring as this person” or ” How come people seem to visit this persons page and I have no one visiting mine” It’s all a huge playground that I find myself in and don’t know who to ask “can I play too?” It’s scary and intimidating for the most part but reading this makes me realize that I’m not alone! Even the most seasoned bloggers can feel pressured too! So thank you for lifting some weight of my shoulders! I will keep this post in mind when I start to feel the anxiety come creeping back ;-)

  34. 12.12.14

    Oh boy yes, such a great post. It is so easy to play the comparison game I always feel like someone is gifted with something, traveling somewhere or doing something way better than me. I have also stopped following a lot of fashion bloggers that feel that they either must show their cleavage or something else that I don’t really think is necessary. I try to set a healthy boundary and it is one of my goals in the new year. Great post:)

  35. 12.12.14
    Lauren said:

    I love this post and the comments. I think the style blogger rachel parcell is the epitome of this. I love her style, but I often get can’t believe how gorgeous, expensive, and stress-free her life, home, and clothes are. I know that’s just what she puts on social media and it’s my responsibility not to compare, but it’s hard. Glad others find it difficult as well.

  36. 12.12.14
    Rose said:

    This is such a great post for so many reasons, Victoria! I have a lot of sentiments in the same vein, and while I have a semi-fashion-related blog I’d say about 70% of the accounts I follow on instagram are beautiful design and photography. I’d be happy to share some of my favorites!!

  37. 12.14.14
    suzanne lau said:

    love your post. i can’t help but get sucked into some bloggers’ instagram accounts and wonder why?!? i think how unrealistic their lifestyle must be and why they are making other women jealous when they think they are being aspirational?! why don’t they blog about practicality or fiscal responsibility? i guess that’s just not as glamourous huh?!

  38. 12.14.14
    Joanna said:

    Thank you for writing this, Victoria. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends lately about the culture of narcissism and comparison that we live in and I worry about the negativity that it creates. (Not to mention – it’s bad enough to spend time with friends and see everyone on their smartphones instead of engaging in interesting discussions, but realizing how bad those S.M. platforms make people feel? Hopping off should be a no-brainer, right?)

  39. 12.14.14
    Becca said:

    Hi Victoria,

    I’m so glad you wrote this post.

    As a small business owner instagram has been a really great tool for growing my business. It’s been the most natural social media platform for me as I’m a very visual person and like to take pictures and share what I’m up to when working on creative projects. That being said, I often feel the way you do. I also feel some pressure to be posting frequently and creating better content every day that my audience will like. The reality of it is that like you my days are often not as glamorous…many days are spent on book keeping, shipping, or other less exciting parts of the job. Often people think I sit around and paint all day, which would certainly be nice but most definitely is not the case.

    I think with all social media it’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap. While I’m usually pretty level headed about things like that I recently was feeling so bummed about what others were doing that I hadn’t achieve…and I realized it was really just because I was feeling very insecure about where my business was going. Working for yourself is hard, and it allows a lot of time to question yourself and to be hard on yourself. For me, it really had nothing to do with what I was seeing out there that other people were doing…but just that I needed to take some time away from the constant feed of information.

    I love your thoughts on editing who you do follow to be people that inspire you or push you to learn something. I think finding ways to make the platform work for us is important. For the most part I think I follow people that inspire me, but I am feeling inspired to do a bit of cleaning on that front. I also recently created a personal instagram account as I do like the platform but wanted to just be able to see my friends and family and not all of the design accounts, stores, etc that I follow on my other account. For me this helped me distinguish things a bit. I like that I can now post a funny photo from over the holidays that isn’t a very good photograph. I still want my ‘work’ account to be genuine, but I also am realizing it’s ok that is has a business purpose as well.

    Anyways, I’ve rambled on a bit! I also wanted to say I’m really sorry to hear that this has been a tough year and I hope that things get better soon.

    Hope to see you soon and that you get some time over the holidays to unwind!

  40. 12.15.14
    Amy said:

    Honestly, I couldn’t agree more. I blog for the love of writing and to indulge my appreciation for beautiful imagery. I didn’t start to gain followers, or to become a famous blogger who lives off blogging income, but if that happened, I’d be pretty stoked. In the name of keeping it real though, there are times when I get sucked into the game. The game of gaining followers, accumulating likes, and closely monitoring my stats. But at the end of the day, its not about that. It’s about me creating content that I am happy to put my name to, its about having an online presence in the hope that someday it might help me get my dream job, and its about doing something for a simple, but underrated reason – I enjoy it.

    Like you, I’ve recently started unfollowing accounts that create a pit in my stomach whenever I stumble across their posts. Mostly, they are so-called health and wellbeing accounts that do nothing more than spruik an idealised vision of how we should look, what we should eat, how much we should exercise. A lot of beauty and fashion bloggers fall into the same category. They’ve been unfollowed too. Part of the appeal of blogging is that it has created a community of like-minded people. And part of being in a community is supporting each other, and keeping it real. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a stylised, pretty shot as much as anyone. I just don’t want it to be the only thing on my Instagram feed.

    Social media lets us portray but a highly-edited glimpse of our lives, enabling the comparison game. It can be magical, but it can also be destructive. For me, there’s an on-going conflict between wanting to keep it real, but also wanting to build a brand. The Girl for Granted (my blog) brand isn’t me. Girl for Granted is something of a character. She’s not me, but I facilitate her existence, and we share a lot of the same personality traits, characteristics, tastes, etc. Thinking about it in this way helps me separate myself from my blog and my social media presence. I do use my personal Instagram account to promote my blog, but I’ve been increasingly toying with the idea of establishing a second account, specifically for Girl for Granted. But then, I lose my established following. I don’t know what the answer to this is, but I also know it doesn’t really matter. It’s just social media. It’s just blogging. It’s not life or death; nothing bad is going to happen.

    It’s all about perspective.

  41. 12.15.14

    I immediately clicked on your post when I was scrolling through my feed because I feel exactly the same way. I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I feel exactly the same way. It’ nice to know someone feels the same way. I’ve just started blogging and doing youtube videos and haven’t gotten really any views yet (I’m still in single digits). I’m constantly comparing myself to other blogs and youtubers, especially really popular people like Zoella, and I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong and why people don’t like me. It’s like being in high school, eating lunch alone in the cafeteria, fearing nobody likes you. I’m happy to read this and hear your opinion and views on the subject.

    Thanks for this post! :)

  42. 12.15.14
    Maria Fernanda said:

    As a non blogger and blog reader I enjoy the content that blogs expose us to, but in the age of instagram I find myself comparing my life to others. Before there was social media no one ever knew what everyone else was doing at some point in time; there was no comparison and everybody did what they wanted without feeling jealous or guilty.
    Thanks for the post Victoria.
    Great one!

  43. 12.19.14
    ame said:

    So perfectly, perfectly said. I took a step back from my blog to finish my workload after my car accident in Sept and so far haven’t gotten back in the groove. I have lots written, but I feel like too many of my posts were not enough ME for a while and I need to find ME again.

    I look at all these amazing Instagram posts and blog posts that are perfectly arranged and think “that’s so bogus! No one lives like that!” and then look at the house I live in that looks perpetually like a bomb went off. I have no time to clean that with a full time job, a business I run on the side, AND blogging I want to do, oh yknow and trying to sleep. I want to do it all. I just can’t. So the filth remains. lol

    I hope Lucy is doing ok and life is normalizing!

  44. 12.19.14

    From my first experience on Instagram, it felt very “fake” to me. After years of following bloggers on Instagram, I ended up following over 1000 bloggers a few months ago! As I was experiencing some trying situations in my own life, I saw 5 (no lie) photos of coffee in a mug after another on Instagram. Everyone seemed to be copying someone else.

    I too try to find blogs and accounts I find inspiring: there’s a personal friend who always posts amazing pictures of her adventures. She inspires me to go out and explore my own city, rather than stay in and watch television. I also follow photographers who can demonstrate new compositions and lighting techniques.

    To help myself avoid going into the comparison trap, I don’t allow myself to be on facebook for anything other than chatting. I don’t think it’s good to stalk people online–you get caught in a rabbit hole of crazy! Similarly, I only let myself view 10-15 photos from someone’s instagram; never the whole feed at once!! It’s too much, really.

    Xoxo, Meg
    An Affair of Character

  45. 12.20.14
    Abby said:

    Wow. It’s like everything I’ve been thinking about and discussing with friends was put into this and I couldn’t agree with you more. I feel the same way about overly styled grams and the constant sales pitch. Blogging is a job for many and I understand that, but for the readers and fellow bloggers it should be a distraction, a way to let loose and maybe even learn some new tricks (whether it’s a style, DIY or a food blog). Instagram has become too much of “hey this is on sale buy it” or “yum, green juice”. Because of this I just went on a massive unfollow/follow purge and found some incredible accounts! They’re not only inspiring and pretty to look at, but they’re real… in a sense. :)

  46. 1.3.15
    Kira Levy said:

    Yes, yes, so much yes! I really feel you – thank you for this post. I enjoy instagram very much for connecting with people and finding inspiration, but find it a tricky tool as well. I’ve noticed that I am posting a lot less on my company’s instagram and following/posting more on my (private) personal account with friends and family. I am also torn as social media is so widely used (and I think expected) and I agree that it is becoming more and more important. It’s interesting how those big life events change our perspective. I’m so glad that Lucy is doing better! Happy new year to you and yours.

  47. 1.8.15

    Such an amazingly truthful read! Kudos to you for your honesty. I can sincerely relate. This is material worth sharing with my readers as well because it really resembles my life in many ways. Thanks for sharing and for letting us in deeper to your personal place. -R

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