> “You want me to say I’m influencing all these people,” he says. “But I’m the one who is really influenced by this. The way I act online is shaped by monetary incentives. If a post does well, expect to see more posts like that. If copying and pasting motivational quotes from Dale Carnegie drives engagement, I will share them all day long. I don’t care.
My opinion is different nowadays. Instagram is surely a place where exists a lot of true beauty and expression, but it's also a place full of people largely driven by societal and monetary reward, to an extent that I've come to consider unhealthy. We are being influenced, and we are influencing.
And we like that-- my social brain wants to know what society considers beautiful, it enjoys training itself on what society considers beautiful, it wants to be affirmed in the beauty of its own body. Instagram gave me exactly what I wanted. But (and I don't mean to criticize anyone here at all, considering I was and still am subject to the same pressures and influences) I don't think what I thought I wanted was healthy. I want to be happy. A constant stream of corgi videos and bikini photos and travel porn gives me little ups, but it also shapes my brain in ways I think could be damaging.
But between a few of them giving me “I get to live vicariously through you now” vibes, the societal pressure to follow them back even if I don’t find their feeds interesting, and the ads, it felt like the whole thing was a net-negative for me and people close to me.
I’ve gone back to just sharing my travel photos in-person.