Today let’s talk about the dark side of Instagram and all social media in general. Instagram has taken a huge place in our daily lives. We all spend much time on this app, scrolling on our feed and watching stories! (I know, you too!) And it’s not always easy to step back and keep an objective look on it, to protect ourselves! Yes, Instagram is an amazing and beautiful space to connect with other creative souls and make real friendships. Since I’ve created my Instagram account, I’ve met beautiful people from all around the world during my travels and some of them even became real-life friendships. Thanks to Instagram, I’m able to create and share my work with you all, inspire you and also get inspired by you! Also, this platform is offering amazing work opportunities for an entrepreneur.
But unfortunately, there is a dark side behind Instagram and all social media in a general way. Since 2015 when I’ve created this account, many things have changed on the platform. In the beginning, there was no matter of money. It was all about sharing and connecting with others in a sincere and simple way. We were creating and posting content because we wanted to share our life, our personality, our passion with others. We were all beginners, and almost nobody knew at this time all the tricks and the work possibilities behind the platform. I mean, nobody could imagine that it will become a platform where we could make business with a few years after.
Competition for money and followers
In a few years, everything has changed. And money has changed Instagram a lot. Nowadays, everyone is perfectly conscious of the challenges, the work opportunities and the money they could possibly make with this platform. Today, nobody is opening an Instagram account without the wish of making money one day. I’m not talking about personal accounts, but about travel, fitness, fashion or beauty accounts. A few years ago nobody knew the job of “content creator” or “influencer”. Now, many people are aspiring to do this as a living. There are still beautiful and talented people on this platform that really has something to say and to share.
The problem is that there are many drifts and there is a real dark side of Instagram. Some people are desperate to grow their following and making money with the platform. Even if they are promoting fake products, scamming their followers, or are photoshopping their bodies. Also, when we have a large influence, we have a responsibility. We can not promote animal cruelty, promote tourism in dangerous areas, or give the exact location of a spot that can become viral and make the life of locals a nightmare.
Another problem of Instagram is that people are often comparing their life or their body to the influencer’s ones and this can cause anxiety and depression. Sometimes it may be hard for some people to differentiate real life than the “perfect Instagram life” people are showing. On another note, brands and agencies are also sometimes trying to scam influencers and clients. There are many things that have to been told about social media. This is why I wanted to make this post!
If you are into this online business or if you are just curious about the “behind the scene” of this industry, here we go! 😉
Questionable product placements
I think you have all noticed some questionable product placements on Instagram at least once! It may be a product for whitening teeth while the person is wearing dental veneers. Or weight loss products, most of the time teas, powders, belts, while the person is going to the gym every day and is even not using the product (I know you’re smiling! Yes this sounds quite ridiculous). This can even be the promotion of dangerous products like powders that are replacing a meal. This is all about how to make money in the short term. No matter the ethic and the brand image in the long term.
Unfortunately, these questionable products placements are mostly why the term “influencer” has lost all its legitimacy and why it’s not well seen to be called like this. Nowadays, we are trying to find better names as “content creator”, to not be associated with these profiles and keep legitimate towards brands and people. When you want to build a brand in the long term, you need to be careful with who you are collaborating with.
Also, some influencers are promoting dropshipping products which are products bought on Ali express or Wish for a ridiculous price and are resold at a very high price. This is not illegal but it is morally really questionable. Especially when we know that most of the customers are teens girls. The best way to avoid this is to make some research on the internet before buying, you may find the same product for a really better price.
There even are brands that are working with influencers to try to scam customers. The brand can totally disappear and never send the products to the customers after having received the payments. Before working with brands, always Google them, look for their websites, their social media accounts, the feedbacks of their clients. You can easily make your own opinion and refuse these kinds of collaborations!
Instagram life VS reality
The place of photoshop
Every photographer is using photoshop. It is professional software and it is really useful to create in many ways. Also, we are all using photoshop to remove people in the background, remove a sign, or to fix small things. But creating something that is not existing or photoshopping a body is very questionable. By the way, it is often Facetune or other mobile apps that are used to modify a body on IG photos and not Photoshop. Even if it is really easy to see for the professionals, it is currently making many scandals! Not everyone see it and the influencer can be seen as a model or a reference. It’s probably not the best example to show. Yes, it’s easy to photoshop a body and it’s harder to go to the gym and eating healthy but it is way more rewarding and real!
Comparison and anxiety
On the same topic, we can not talk about the dark side of Instagram without talking about comparison and the anxiety it can provoke. Comparing our life to others is just as bad that comparing our bodies. First of all, we are all different, we have a different life and a different body and this is what makes us unique.
Moreover, you don’t know the real-life of influencers. Yes, we are sharing our real life, we’ve really traveled to these destinations, we’ve really visited these places, and done these activities. But it is a small fraction of our lives. Most of us are not always on the road! Unless you are doing a year away, everyone is working every day. We are all working on a computer at least 8 hours per day, doing shopping groceries, cleaning our house, cooking and so on.
We are just sharing content to inspire you, to make you dream, to give a bunch of happiness in your life and make you wanna visit these places. It’s obvious that we will not share content about us cleaning the house, it’s not the goal. But keep in mind that the content we are sharing is a fraction of our life. Also, you have absolutely no idea if what the person is currently living in their personal life and what he/she is currently facing and struggling with. Don’t idealize people! Everyone has ups and downs and it is totally normal, nobody has a perfect life!
Concerning the body comparison, I promise you it is the worst thing you can impose to yourself. You should never compare your body to another. Firstly, because we all have a different size and a different morphology. There is no comparison, there are as many different bodies as different women, and that is a lot 😉 Also, the key is acceptance. Even if you want to change, you first need to accept yourself like you are and love your body as it is currently. You should work out because you love your body, not because you hate it! Once you love yourself as you are, you can change, if you want. It just requires will and consistency.
Influencers have a responsibility
Promotion of animal cruelty
As “influencers” we all have a responsibility. We need to make research before doing activities including animals. We can not promote places where animals are not treated well. This works for the circus, animals riding, aquariums, zoos and so on. Sometimes I see photos of people sitting and smiling just near an animal that is almost crying. You just have to look in his eyes. This breaks my heart. It often happens in Egypt or Jordan with camels and donkeys or in Asia with elephants but not only.
Everyone should make researches before doing any activity with animals. Animal riding is always animal cruelty. As animal captivity. Animals are feeling joy and pain, they deserve a beautiful life and to be free in their natural habitat. Nobody would like to live in captivity in a small space, just to entertain tourists. Please think twice before visiting one of these places where animals are just slaves. We all have a responsibility and we must not promote animal cruelty. You should read my post about “why you should never ride animals during your travels“!
Promotion of popular spots
Another dark side of Instagram is the promotion of popular spots where people are living. I think we have all done this at least once without imagining the consequences for the locals. A few years ago I was also taking photos in this colorful pink street in Paris (You know which one right? 😉 ), I didn’t imagine that the daily life of the locals has become a real nightmare. They are seeing hundreds of people every day coming to take photos. By the way, it’s not allowed anymore to come to take pics in this street. But it’s not the only one! You can also read our post about “how to be a responsible traveler” or at least try our best to become one!
A competitive and not always so glamorous industry
Collaboration over competition
A huge problem is that the travel industry is oversaturated on Instagram and is very competitive. And it is even worse for fashion, beauty, and fitness online industries. The dark side of Instagram here is that some people are ready to do everything to reach their goals. They see it as an individual competition. Follow/unfollow, ghost giveaways and other unethical ways to try to grow their following. But also talking to brands to dissuade them to work with a person. But honestly, push others down to be able to stand out has never lead anywhere! Instead of this, we should better help each other! There is a place for everyone that is talented and has something new to share! If you are motivated and passionate, you can do it. You know the quote “real queens fix each other’s crowns”
Scams of brands and agencies
Even some brands are scamming influencers. After the collaboration has been finished, they disappear and never pay. This also has happened with several agencies that disappear with the money after the collaborations have been made. Before working with a brand, always ask a contract. I mean a real contract with the legal number of the company (Siret), their real names, the address of the society. Make research, ask other creators that have been working with them before. Same for agencies or freelance agents.
Social media also have great sides!
I see that you stayed until the end! Thank you for reading my FAM! I really hope you liked this post about the dark side of Instagram! Obviously it is still an awesome platform to share your creativity, express your personality, take work opportunities and make friends along the way! To conclude, I would just say that you need to be careful about our use and step back sometimes to keep an objective look and preserve yourself! This can sometimes include a “digital detox” of a few days! Anyway, we should never compare ourselves to others! Let me know your experiences with social media in the comments and what you do you think about Instagram! 😉 And don’t forget to follow our next adventures! @chiarabarrasso @jelafaille