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On Instagram addiction, and the importance of finding beauty in sadness

By Danié Gómez-Ortigoza

July 6, 2017

I have to confess: I fill almost every short gap in my life with instagram. Elevators, street-lights, lonely lunches…It has become a friend to me.

I kept myself far away from it until I started working for Glamour. Previous to that I managed social media communities for brands, so obviously the last thing I wanted, was to do it for myself. Plus I never thought, until recently, that I had a story to tell, and I don’t think it’s fair for the current state of the world to just be another instagram account posting about pretty bags. There has to be more to it.

Perhaps it’s loneliness. We all have starved hearts no matter how blessed and surrounded by people we are. It’s part of our human condition. And it’s nice to see karma at work. There’s a silent economy among the community that you follow and follows you back in relation to likes, comments, and general interaction. The more you like and comment others, the more you will be liked and commented on, with time and effort. Feels good, specially when it’s so hard to feel appreciated on our daily lives.

It’s also a personal experiment. I know myself so much better since I started posting on a daily basis. I’ve learned to embrace my inner-monsters, my intensity and the necessity I have to find beauty and share it with others in my everyday life.
I get it. It’s addiction. The feeling of posting a picture is similar to that of playing a slot machine. The expectation towards the amount of likes or comments you might get is as exciting as waiting for the reel-spinning slots to settle. It’s not money you are investing. It’s time. So you’d better use it wisely.

And, of course, it’s also the most wonderful pacifier. We are all so anxious, that it’s good to know we don’t have to stare straight into the eyes of the world we are facing; you can simply peek between swipes.

Yeah… The art of swiping and liking. That’s where insta-therapy happens: As I swipe through the pictures of all the friends and strangers whose life I follow, I can see their voids and relate to them in so many ways.
Yes. Even in the most beautiful feeds, once you read between the lines, there’s an insight into the hardships of the person behind the account. And just then, being human seems enough.

But I’m not sure everyone notices this, and it worries me. Look into #depression next time you use Instagram. Like any drug, social media has generated feelings of emptiness and unworthiness to society in astounding ways. I’ve been around for a bit and lived a ‘cool’ life around people with ‘amazing’ lives long enough to know for certain that what I see is not the full story, but I follow some younger people, and friends I’ve done through constant interaction and mutual admiration, who I often think don’t know that.

So do consider that we all have a responsibility, regardless of the size of our following, to show reality from time to time and mention that not every day is a sunny day, because the more we humanize sadness, the more we build upon a healthier society.

So let’s do it well. Let’s continue sharing the beauty that surrounds us, but not forgetting how important is to give a glimpse into our thoughts and our real stories, as subtly as we dare to. Because I know no matter how beautiful your feed is, there’s more to you behind the scenes.
And perhaps we’ll uncover the beauty of sadness, and even save a life from time to time.

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