Ever gone on a trip without posting anything on Instagram? Well, me neither.
Holidays are fun, because not only do you get to travel to completely unfamiliar terrains and explore new vicinities, but you get to show them off online - how else is anyone going to know that you're swimming with the sharks in the Bahamas, or partying your life away in Las Vegas? It's literally a "pics or it didn't happen" phenomenon.
It is no longer surprising that most of us are addicted to social media or Instagram per se. The introduction of Instagram's New Time-Limit Tool, which helps to track the amount of time users have spent out of any given day on the app, aims to refrain users from scrolling mindlessly by sending frequent time-check reminders. The policing of such usage is exceptionally crucial as social-media addiction becomes more prevalent among the millennials, who have shown increasing difficulties in restraining their social media usage. Furthermore, studies have repeatedly shown the downsides of such addictions - reduced self-esteem, depression, lack of social awareness and so forth. The list goes on, but here is one key reason why you should never go on a holiday to simply do it for the gram.
FOMO, short for Fear Of Missing Out, is commonly used to express the anxiety that individuals feel from the realization of being "excluded" from the activities of their families and peers through their social media platforms. The ubiquity of FOMO originates from the concept that Instagram, a widely-used platform, allows us to immediately observe the lives of the "whole world" with just a tap on the screen. The instantaneous access to such exorbitant amounts of information that our brain can actually handle inevitably affects our mental health, such that we unknowingly create all kinds of comparisons with the people online, forcing us to become more depressed.
Instagramming your holiday away precisely exacerbates this phenomenon.
The long journeys and flights aren't documented; instead, the nice hotel rooms that we spent half of our paycheck on is broadcasted to all of our followers. Hours are spent standing in front of famous monuments, such as the Tower of Pisa for instance, as we find out ways to capture the best shot of us holding the "falling tower". Visits to new places aren't completed until we tap on that record button. In essence, we put up a show, likened to a director, as we choreograph our days and actions to make this life seem better than it actually is.
As the one posting these shots and videos, you naturally feel excited and validated by your peers, whom you can feel are growing increasingly envious of your good life. Doesn't it feel great to finally be the one on the greener side of the grass?
"Hey, I earned it!" You're probably screaming this at the back of your head. Yes, I get it. You hustled hard enough to show it off to the world that you're having that well-deserved break. But think of this - are you genuinely enjoying your trip, or are you merely keeping up with appearances?
The true joy of travelling comes from the memories that you make. Not the time spent finding the best Instagram-worthy location, nor the nth attempt at trying to recreate that scene such that you look sufficiently candid for your Insta-story. They are just mere facades to keep that narrative going - to show that every event in your trip is that much of a highlight.
Also, consider this - have you ever been on the other side of the equation? I'm guessing it's a solid yes. For us, when real life is already tough, encountering such content as we seek to unwind through social media invariably makes us feel worse off. You start wishing that you were there, and how terrible your life is as of now. The comparisons are incessant.
So, word of advice for all my travel buddies out there - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Keep your travels away from Instagram, at least for a day on your next trip. Save the beautiful moments in your phone, and let them serve as beautiful reminders of the good things that you deserve in life. After all, you did earn that trip - and you earn that right to keep these memories safe with you. Just remember to never let Instagram dictate your travels.
Featured photo credit: Bon Appetit/shutterstock.com
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