I tried to be famous on Instagram, I really did. I posted filtered photos. I added hashtags. I spent hours trying to capture the perfect shot and after that edit it so it can become an Instagram worthy moment of joy. I researched for the best time to post on Insta. I also added stories where I shared what was happening in my life – as if someone cared. The motive behind my actions was superficial. I admit it. The only thing I wanted was to get more likes and more followers and potentially live the good life – the glamorous life all the other Grammer’s are living. Though my pictures looked cool, I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t feeling super awesome – like the others on the platform. “Probably it’s just me,” I thought. “Everyone else is having a good time.” But when I looked behind the curtains, I saw that what’s posted online is rarely the full story. And that people are not as happy and as successful as they share.
We’re status seeking monkeys. We live to get attention. We rarely admit it but we’re all like that. People don’t simply post photos to share their memories or to save the moment. They update their online accounts like crazy to feel good about themselves. To get external validation and approval from other people. Even though the founders of the current social media platforms created them so we can stay connected, people use them for another reason: to boost their ego and to feel a bit better about themselves.
You don’t believe me?
Look behind the curtains. See what people don’t share on Instagram so you can feel a bit better the next time you see others drinking mojitos on a beachside luxury dorm or when you stumble on a picture of a perfectly organized desk.
11 Things People Don’t Post on Instagram.
1. The Lack of Money
Some people think that the number of followers you have on Instagram matches the amount of money you get in real life. But that’s just an illusion.
It’s common these days for self-proclaimed influencers to demand for free lodging, clothes, and even ice cream in exchange for “unique” content posted on their page.
But why is that? If these Instagramers are so influential, why do they ask for free stuff – aren’t they rich? Is it because of ego? Because they think they’re superstars and they no longer need to pay for anything? Or simply because they are exploitative freeloaders with no real jobs, thus not enough money to pay for their basic needs.
If you think about it. It’s most probably the latter. Why else ask for free ice cream that cost $4 in exchange for exposure?1
2. All The Clutter
Gosh, I love them. Pictures of well-arranged desks. Where the keyboard, the mouse, and the dairy are perfectly arranged and placed in the right location on top of an Ikea desk. It’s like magic. It’s like watching the sunrise on repeat. I often think about how do they do it? Where is everything else? And why I can’t have a home clean and arranged like theirs?
Though I consider myself a minimalist, I can’t kick it off like the famous people online.
But behind the curtains, something else is happening. A series of arrangements and measurements. A week of preparation for a single shot. In addition, a closet full of all the junk items that aren’t supposed to get captured in the picture.
While online people present how clean and organized their desks are, behind the camera is complete chaos.
3. The Insecurity
Going through the profiles of cool people online you’ll most probably conclude that these guys and girls are really confident and cocky. That they have it all figured out. That they can lead a conversation with charm and confidence. In reality, though, things are quite different.
Most online superstars are quite shy and nervous around others. They can share a 500-page post on how they hated it when someone threw a piece of paper on the street but when they see someone actually doing it in front of them, the only thing they’ll do is take a picture, without saying a word.
4. The Fake Followers
Post something with the trending hashtags and you’ll immediately get trolls spamming your new content with offers for getting more (real!) followers.
And do you know what? Most people do respond and do subscribe to these services. They boost their following by spamming people or by getting fake numbers.2
Unfortunately, it’s super easy to increase your follow-rate these days. You just need to search in Google for “getting more followers” and various results will appear, all promising to change your online presence.
That’s why accounts with 100,000 followers get less than 2,000 likes per photo.
5. The Lack of Knowledge
It seems that everyone online is an expert these days. Just give Insta a quick spin and you’ll immediately find a couple of “experts” who will transform your life if you buy their product, their course, or their stickers. “It’s only $599 per month but you’ll become ultra-rich, dude. Believe me. I have 20,000 followers, you see?”
But most self-proclaimed gurus know jack shit about life or about business. The only thing they can probably teach you is how to spam others with cheesy quotes about success. They sell their “knowledge” because they don’t have anything else to offer to the world. If you spent just a few minutes researching them, you’ll see the reality. That they’re probably college dropouts who decided to pursue the easy life.
6. The Tough love & The Imperfection
Feeling alone and abandoned?
Not if you’re an Instagram model. These god-like creatures are always happy and satisfied with their lives. You can’t find a pixel of negativity on their profiles. It’s like they are living in heaven. Their husband is super smart and sexy. Their kids will become the next Mozart or the next Leonardo Da Vincy. Their parents are not annoying. When they shop they always carry a freaking list. It’s all perfect and handy-dandy.
Even if their kids do cry, or don’t want to eat the vegan soup and start throwing dishes, it’s totally understandable and after a brief moment with their therapist, it’s back to playing the piano while practicing yoga and speaking in Hindu.
Excuse me, but I can’t believe all of this. It’s too much to handle. We all know that kids cry, a lot. That you want to punch your spouse in the face at least 1,732 times a day. That your parents are quite annoying. And that vegan soup is a bad idea.
So, the next time you see someone sharing how awesome and totally ideal their lives are, ask them to live stream what’s happening in their house for just 24 hours.
7. The Stress
Tried sharing a picture per day for 30 days? What about two? Or three? What about sharing three pictures per day for a full year?
Yeah. It might seem super easy. You just unlock your phone and you snap what’s happening around you, right? Not quite.
If you really want to transform from fake-fluencer to a real influencer, you need to increase the number of posts you share online. But you can’t simply share random stuff. You need to make things perfect.
As I mentioned earlier, to clean the whole house so you can get a nice picture of your desk with items you bought specifically for this occasion. Items you’ll later return.3 After that, come up with a smart description that’s totally different from what you’re really thinking. Post. Repeat. You’re not living the dream.
But this takes time. And it’s quite stressful. You actually need to clean your whole apartment and hide all the crap before posting a photo. If you can’t afford an army of slaves to take care of this for you it will be really hard to produce “life-changing” posts for your online community.
8. The Exhaustion
Apparently, climbing the corporate leader is no longer trendy. Understandable. Offices are boring and they don’t make a good background for a cool Insta story. Besides, you’ll be probably kicked out of your job if you constantly make selfies while “working.”
Moving up in the hierarchy of a corporation is replaced with traveling. Everybody is doing it. People don’t give a shit about their performance at work or what will happen 5 years from now. They need to travel to stay alive.
But traveling and switching places is kind of tiring. In order to keep fresh your high-profile account, you basically need to sleep inside an airplane. To go from one location to the other. Hoping a company will be willing to sponsor your next flight. But this back and forth between countries and sightseeing is not easy, nor is a life most people can handle.
You probably leave behind more things than what your online fame can give you. No, I’m not talking about your office job, I’m talking about your relationship with others.
9. The Loneliness
Unless your spouse is also a trendy travel blogger, and you’re a team – helping each other succeed – he/she is probably sick of you talking to the camera or constantly arranging stuff inside your home so you can present the best possible version of yourself in front of the world.
It can be actually worse.
Travel Instagramers are talking all the time about how they adore talking and meeting different people. How solo traveling is the shit. And how they feel extremely satisfied with their airplane life.
Still, what type of relationship you can build when you know someone for just a day or two? As soon as you get to know someone you need to leave. Onwards to the next place for new flashy photos!
What kind of life is this? Yes, it’s surely fun and exciting to meet new people when you’re 20 and you’re single. But what happens after a few years? After Instagram is dead and you need to face reality (get a real job)? You’ll most probably go back to live with your parents.
10. The Lack of Direction
We’re living in today’s world. Nobody is thinking about tomorrow. About the next month, not to mention the next couple of years. It’s only about today. About, “What should I publish online today? What should I say to my audience?”
The lack of real direction and trajectory is changing how people think. People rarely talk about big ideas or about projects that can help humanity. They talk only about filters; new clothes; how to get more free stuff; non-awkward ways to meet people while solo traveling; and other extremely unimportant things nobody should basically give a shit about.
But a lot of people do. That’s why we’re in love with our phones and we’re constantly falling behind our mortgage payments. We’re living for the likes, instead of living to make the world a better place.
11. The Absurdity
Let’s observe social media for a moment. And more specifically Instagram. The experience of Instagram basically looks like this: people glued to their phones, watching pictures of other people having “fun.” Or fake fun, if we take into account everything I mentioned so far.
There are two sides to this online circus:
- The creators: The ones who are producing content (pictures).
- The consumers: People who can’t get enough and are constantly refreshing hoping new content will appear.
But regardless of your side, let me ask you this: What’s in it for you?
OK, if you’re a creator you’re obviously doing it to get attention and to make a quick buck from the back of all the others hungry for more content. But if you’re a consumer, what do you gain from it all?
Yep, it’s easy and fun to sit on your couch and watch short films and filtered photos of people doing stupid stuff, what they had for breakfast, the place they’ve been. But do you really want to waste your life watching how someone else is living his life?
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s kind of stupid to devote so much of your attention towards what others are sharing online. They’ve visited Eastern Asia. So what? They just ate a burrito. And? How seeing stuff like that is helping you pay off your debt?
Think about it.
Some Closing Thoughts
Why I wrote this?
Three main reasons:
- To show you what’s happening in reality. That not all Gram top-models are worth following or admiring.
- To help you realize that when you’re mindlessly scrolling online you’re simply wasting your time/life.
- That this too will pass. Yep. Is trendy. It’s cool to be on Instagram and to post pictures of your half-naked body laying on the beach drinking pina coladas. But hell, how is this helping people? How a picture of me laying on the beach, oiled, will help the human race advance? The answer: it won’t.
People who change the world for the better rarely use social media. They don’t dream about getting the blue dot right next to their Instagram account. They work hard for a brighter future for you and me.
So, stop pretending that you care by constantly updating your profile with pictures of slogans that will supposedly have to motivate people. Instead, do something that can really benefit the human race.
Do yourself a favor:
Join Going Further: A 13-day email series on how to keep progressing in a world tirelessly pushing toward regression. Great for people who feel stuck in the endless loop of not doing.
- The latter is a true story. That’s why the owner of an ice cream truck – Joe Nicchi – made a sign and hang it on his ice cream truck. The sign said, “Influencers pay double.”
- I’m regularly getting spam comments from “famous” Insta models. They do this so they can boost their rankings.
- Yep, fake-fluencers do that. They constantly buy stuff online, snap them, and later return them. They basically sell you stuff they don’t own.