Saturday, January 12, 2019

Instaskin I: Why Do People Post Half Nude Pictures of Themselves on Instagram?

Instagram is a place where one can show off their life.  From your travels to your house, to how many books you read, to how fancy you can eat, sleep and live, Instagram has your ego on lockdown.  Instagram was my favorite social media site.  It lacks the vast majority of the political and family arguments of Facebook.  In a way, it's more uplifting (although it can and does induce jealousy)  To be honest, I still use it.  For now.  But I have, as of late, cut back my use.  Personally, I see less of a need or want to use it.  I have less and less of a desire to share my life.  Yet, commercially, it has value to me, and for that reason, I don't plan to leave just quite yet.

There is a bit of a trend I see on Instagram that is a bit offputting to me.  It's not just a problem with the ladies either.  This is a total problem with both genders.  There's a whole lot of skin on Instagram. And, honestly, the longer I am on the site, the more I am seeing.  It's as if people are taking their clothes off for likes, and that to me resembles like-prostitution!

***Note:  Showing skin has long been a problem on social media, but the more I used Instagram, the more I saw it.  It has become somewhat of a competition, look sexy to show off your life and reel in more likes.  Self-respect traded for the almighty like.***

It's no secret that the currency of social media is "likes."  And the biggest players of the game live, breathe and work for as many likes as they can get.  Likes for some basically translates into money.  The biggest Instagram stars make wealth from sponsored posts and content.  Even my own Instagram posts have resulted in sales on Etsy, so there is a value to likes.  But, not all people are on Instagram to make money off of their likes.  The vast majority of people don't even know that you can make money from Instagram, or they know it's possible but just have not figured out how to do it.  Basically, they are collecting likes for one thing and one thing only: to look good.

Looking good is the whole point of social media, is it not?  I mean, who makes a profile with the thought "I am going to make myself look mediocre or bad?"  A few people in this big world maybe, but not the majority.  Most people get on (a)social media to strut their stuff, and Instagram is the biggest place to do this.  Granted, Facebook is a close second, but Instagram is an envy factory.  If you could mass produce jealousy and box it up, this would be the place to do so.

Instagram manufacturs envy.  The currency is the like.  Therefore, one must have to figure out a way to earn this currency.  The first way is to get followers.  The more followers you have, the more likes you will get.  Followers are even more important than likes because this is where your clout comes in.  The more followers you have, the bigger your chance of making wealth from the site.  But, let's just ignore wealth for now.  Followers also bring you lots of likes, and those likes are what makes you look good.  The same picture with 10 likes and with 100 likes is really a different picture, isn't it?  Why?  Because the picture with more likes is going to manufacture more envy.  The more likes say, "look, 100 people like this, they want this, they think it's great."  10 likes say, "my mom and two sisters, my aunt and five strangers and myself think this is kinda good.  I hope you do, too!"  Now, once you get into the whole 500 likes, 1,000 likes, 2,500 likes you are on fire.  But, unless you are paying for these kinds of likes, you literally spend your life on Instagram.  It doesn't matter how beautiful your world is, because it's your phone that you are living in.  Are you following me?

I used to post a lot of pictures of my travels on Instagram.  I recently posted a ton of pictures of Morocco on the site.  But, then (and more on this soon) 2019 hit and I started thinking, "is this what I want with my life?  I am sharing nice pictures, getting a lot of likes, and showing this stuff to family, but is it good?  I mean, is it really good?"  And, well, the only answer I could come up with is, "no, no it's not really that good."  In fact, it kind of was sad to think about.  I do enjoy looking at pictures that others post.  I like pictures and photography.  But, I don't know if I like the whole Instagram culture.  The half-naked people showing skin for likes.  The whole "like" thing in general.  The whole "get more followers" game.  It's not fun.

In a future post, I will dive deeper into the whole "Instaskin" thing.  It's a subject that deserves more than one post.  But, I hope that I answered the question: Why do people show half-nude pictures of themselves on Instagram?  I mean, would have you used an instant print Polaroid camera to take a picture of you in bra and panties or short shorts and then printed out the image and passed it around a bus full of strangers?  I didn't think so.  Yet, people will do the same exact thing by posting a picture of them doing yoga in their underwear and share it with everyone, hoping that it gets more and more exposure.  That to me is kind of crazy and says a lot about society.  Yet, this is completely normal in the world now.  There's nothing really strange about that.  In fact, if you have spent any time on Instagram and have traveled, you can not help but see this kind of thing when you click on the name of a place.  Do a search for any major city in the world and look at the top posts.  New York, Phuket, Bali, Los Angeles, Reno, Butte Montana.  You will see skin - and more than necessary!

So, why is this done?  For likes.  Pride.  Self-esteem boost.  To create envy.  To feel good.  To live and feel alive.  To feel better about living in your phone.  To feel young, pretty, sexy, unique, fun, edgy, exciting, to make your sister jealous.

Have you been a prisoner of the whole Instagram game?  Do you ever show a little too much skin, or know someone who has?  How would you feel if your child did the same thing?  Do you expect them to?  Do your church friends do this sometimes?  Do you use Instagram?  Do you want more out of life?  Do you like photography and feel a bit frustrated that Instagram feels like a cheap massage parlor at times?  If so, share your thoughts in the comments.

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