"Beneath the dream of fame, another dream, a dream of no longer dissolving and staying dissolved in the grey, faceless and insipid mass of commodities..."
–Zygmunt Bauman, Consuming Life (2007)
We perceive ourselves as objects and experiences that can be taken, molded, and then discarded. This makes us create quick relationships just to break and forget them soon. We just need to take a look at one single social network: Instagram. It has turned into an scale that measures people's happiness.
So, how miserable is your life according to the Instagram scale?
A recent survey conducted by United Kingdom home insurance company, Schofields Insurance, proved that millennials –aged from 18 to 33 years old– chose to travel based on the "Instagrammability" of a destination. This means that they spend money and leisure time in a place with the sole purpose of increasing engagement by taking photos and posting them on their social networks. A place's climate, prices, distance, or activities are no longer important; the only thing that matters is the widespread and continuing popularity of a trendy destination.
Notable benchmarks have become more important than ever. If a celebrity stepped on certain place or took a photo with a monument, prominent Instagrammers will make sure to follow that trend. Photos are not about preserving memories anymore; they've become one more experience we copy and paste in order to prove we were on the trendiest or most famous places. Not only are we living in the "digital age," but the "gullible age," where we let ourselves be deluded easily by the things that other people post on Instagram or Facebook.
As it was mentioned before, love and relationships in general have become miserable and lost their meaning. When we end a relationship, keeping in touch through social media can bring more suffering and confusion. A simple thing like sending and receiving messages through any social network can feed us with false hopes or make us weaker than we already are, because we don't give ourselves time to heal and complete the mourning process.
In the past, people used to keep love letters, stuffed animals, and old photos inside a box that they would hide in the darkest corner of a closet or bookcase. That would help them forget and grieve the loss of a relationship. Now this is almost impossible to do. Apart from blocking an ex-boyfriend, we must do a thorough clean-up of all our social media accounts. Otherwise, continuing to see the pristine and filtered photos of your ex, overanalyzing their gestures in each one of them, will bring more harm that good, for it will trap you in a cycle that is impossible to break.
Sometimes Instagram can be like that sucky friend that comes just to tell you how an awesome time a person is having without you. Thus, the healthiest alternative some people can come up with is to challenge their current place in the Instagram scale. Most of the time they don't realize the influence other posts have on them can be overwhelming and consuming, to the point that it makes them completely unhappy and miserable. Comparing other people's experiences and photos —especially an ex's— with ours is a toxic practice, since that only gives away our emptiness and inability to focus on other people that do matter, those who really care about us.
If we really wish to be as happy as we look in the photos we upload, we must stop spending time, resources, money, and energy sharing so many dull and meaningless posts on networks like Instagram.
Bauman Zygmunt, Consuming Life (2007)
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