There’s a popular new drug... posting Instagram Stories.
Grace Collison reveals her addiction to Instagram stories and why it might not be such a bad thing.
I have a problem, and everyone knows that when you have a problem the first step towards fixing that problem is admitting you have one. Well, this is me admitting it, in front of all of you.
I am addicted to Instagram stories (in fact, and I’m not just saying this for the article, I literally just paused while writing this to update it. Close friends only though, you know how it is). If you follow me, I assume this will come as no surprise.
A quick scroll through my archive reveals a few common themes - a picture of just my forehead with text overlayed in some way, my Starbucks order, the occasional boomerang of my old running route just so everyone knew that I was indeed capable of being active every now and again. You might also see the odd outfit of the day if I’m particularly proud of my ensemble.
I feel that there’s something of a stereotype when it comes to Instagram stories - the group of girlfriends raising their wine glasses for a well-timed Boomerang, for example, and I’m certainly guilty of some of those, too. But in my experience, I use stories less as a way of documenting what I’m doing in the moment and more to express myself and what I’m thinking. I like to think that I let my personality shine through a bit, more than some people would have you believe social media allows for - ‘the mask we wear’ and similar sentiments, but I’ll talk more about that later. To me, stories are a way to put something out into the world that reflects who I am and isn’t curated in the same way that my actual feed is (I’ve decided this season’s theme is pink, by the way).
And my own story isn’t the only one I’m addicted to - most of the time when I refresh Instagram it’s to watch other people’s stories. It makes me happy to see what my friends are doing with their days, and I’ve had so many conversations with people I might otherwise have never talked to from messaging over a common interest we saw in each other's stories. I know Instagram pretty much stole the concept of stories from Snapchat, but let’s be real, we all know which one is the superior platform.
Instagram stories and I haven’t always been the best of friends, though. Earlier this year, I found myself in a rough patch and struggling quite heavily with my mental health, and looking through my archive I discovered that I’d subconsciously stopped posting on my story nearly as often as I had when I was in a better place mentally.
In March, I only posted 12 stories, compared to 32 in October. But from an outsider’s perspective, there is no way anyone could have picked up that anything was wrong - though less frequent, the content and tone of my stories was the same.
My point is not to tell you that everything you see on social media is fake, and that no one is capable of expressing who they really are on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or whichever platform you prefer. I think social media, Instagram stories included, are a fantastic tool for allowing people to put themselves out into the world in the way that they want to be seen, and I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using stories the way you want to.
But it’s worth keeping in mind that even though it is possible for people to be authentic and honest about their lives on social media, it’s likely only a part of their lives that they’re comfortable sharing.
As addictions go, I feel that being glued to my Instagram story probably isn’t the worst it could get. To be honest with you, I’m not intending on recovering just yet. And if Instagram is your thing too, join the club! Just remember to use it in a way that makes you happy.
Filter on, fellow ‘Grammers.
Grace Collison a third year Creative Writing student and aspiring happy person. You can find me constantly gravitating towards large bodies of water or the nearest bubble tea retailer.