CBC Radio has posted an interview that features three women in their 20s that describe the role of Instagram in their daily lives.
Kiki Cekota, Julia Lloyd, and Emma King, three journalism students at Ryerson University, are all heavy Instagram users. The three women downloaded the app when they were in high school, but now as they reach their 20s, they find themselves re-evaluating their relationship with the app. Kiki explained:
“You feel like you’re in a competition all the time with all these other girls.”
Kiki is not the only one feeling the pressures of the virtual popularity contest. Emma says that before she posts any selfies on Instagram, she uses an app called Perfect 365 to smooth her skin.
A huge part of the app is getting a lot of likes, where a high number is sought after and in some cases, obsessed over. Emma and Julia said that they have even deleted photos that didn’t get them enough likes. Julia said:
“If I get like 20 likes in 20 minutes, I’d probably delete the photo because the ratio of one like a minute is not good.”
For these three girls, an unfavourable like ratio reads to them as a very profound truth:
“I’d be like ‘they’re getting more likes and I’m not. So I’m ugly.”
Kiki used to post a new photo every few days but has now started to cut back her usage of the app. Emma said that as she grows up she is starting to grow away from the app, but she still checks it every 15 to 20 minutes. Emma said:
“You can feel it making you less smart, almost. Like you know it’s not good for your brain but you can’t stop.”
Julia has also been trying to use the app less and has started openly sharing her story of how social media played a role in her anxiety in hopes of inspiring others to open up about mental health.
Instagram has over 800 million active users worldwide, and it is used for visual storytelling by everyone from celebrities to millennials.