For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb
Psalm 139:13

Sunday 8 May 2016

Authenticity and Instagram bingo

"An Instagram feed does not a person make."

Can I be really honest? All those 'Authentic'-type, hashtags make me bristle a little (@socalitybarbie, anyone?). Glorious as the images are, I can't relate to that charmed, Insta-friendly version of authentic that floods my feed. Nope, I don't live in a rustic setting with a conveniently photogenic doorstep/ drink coffee/ have assorted adorable offspring/ go on jaunts that involve bluebell-strewn woodlands/ own a Mac/ bake my own bread/ sew my own frocks/ instinctively know where the nearest patch of wild garlic is growing. That could be a pretty good game of Instagram bingo, right?

A feeling of inadequacy can creep in. When I see those kind of posts, on blogs and social media, I think, 'beautiful, but my life doesn't look like that. Is that okay?' And of course that's totally okay. I can only be me. You can only be you. I have my own unique perspective and so do you. And if your own feed is scoring high in Instagram bingo, great! That's your life and those are your treasures to share. If I have an issue with it, that's down to me. But, it's hard to go against the tide. I want my pictures to look pretty, just like everyone else does! I'll admit I wish I could score higher on Instagram bingo sometimes, and the things that I post can reflect that. This picture above, for instance – I spent time arranging the bits and bobs just so and then edited it and played with filters before posting it. But you wanna know what my kitchen actually looked like when I did it? This:

Yep, of course the things we post are curated. It would be weird if they weren't. 
Even I don't want to see this! 

I'm still feeling a lot of the feels I chatted about in my post about comparison, but lately I've been considering authenticity in particular. I read this great Wattlebird post and this on A Playful Day and started thinking why do I share the things I share? Is it for me or other people? How do I find a balance between truthful reality and what I'm comfortable with or proud of sharing?

Perhaps we've got to try to bury comparison once and for all and focus on finding joy and beauty in the small things that are particular to us, capturing what makes our own hearts sing. The chances are they'll look different to everyone else's and that's the best bit. Our little slices of the Internet are where we share our victories, joys, and find community. And how much we choose to share is entirely up to us.

Phew! Well, that was a long one! And I feel I might have come up with more questions than answers. I'd love to know your thoughts on any of this stuff. What motivates you to share? How honest are you online? Are there any Instagram bingo items I've missed?


  1. I think you should start a new hastag called instazoom where peeps post a curated pretty shot and then zoom out to the real chaos. It's like the MySpace angles of 2016.

    I'm brand new to Instagram so I'm not feeling the pressure yet but I've definitely felt stressed over the last year or so about the gulf between what I see other bloggers doing and what I'm doing. The pressure to post every other day and join chats on Twitter and have a super swish layout. I'm trying to just forget about it and do my own thing.

    I think we all need to try and remember it's just real people behind the smart phones and in real life they probably need to take the bins out as well. Xx

    1. Instazoom is SUCH a good idea! Yep, it's something I've felt from both blogs and Instagram - that pressure to produce particular content, or photograph things in a particular way. Blogs are super pro-looking these days and I can't compete with that. I love that your blog is all about posting exactly what you want, when you want, and the stuff that you really love. It's as much for you as it is for other people, which I think is exactly right. That's why we started blogging! xxx

  2. Thanks for directing me to that Playful Day post - it was a really great read! As was your post, I love thinking about stuff like this and what's important etc etc. I've found that pretty much every blogger questions at one point or another why they are blogging or what they hope to achieve, and the great thing is we can ponder this on our blogs which in itself lends to a great level of authenticity and honesty, which sometimes I do worry we can lose on social media as a whole - but then its our lives and we can share and do what we want to, to an extent, right? It's all about drawing lines where we feel comfortable.
    I LOVE Letty's idea above about Instazoom! I would get in on this!! jenny xx

    1. Hey Jenny! It's really great to be able to think this stuff through on here, and then discover I'm totally not the only one thinking these things! Blogging about blogging -it all gets a bit meta! I'm still figuring out where to draw those lines and how to keep things 'real'. xx

  3. I am glad that these sorts of conversations and posts are happening, because it's SO hard not to look at the rustic, wabi-sabi style of Instagram feed where so many knitters seem to have a rough hewn barn door sort of table on which they style their beautiful knits in progress with an assortment of in bloom wildflowers and they have a thousand likes and my heart sinks a little. Not because I'm jealous (I'm a city girl, and i like it that way), but because it sometimes feels like our definition of a beautiful shot within a certain hashtag is so narrow... and there's all these Instagram courses out there on how to improve your instagram feed by homogenizing your photos to a specific colour palette or style... while on one hand I love that so many people are really upping their photography game and improving how they take photos of the things that are important to them, I also feel like the recipe for Instagram success thrives on sameness, which is not #authentic at all.

    1. Julie, this is exactly what I had in mind when I was writing this! The rough hewn barn door and wild flowers especially! There does seem to be a real trend for those particular kind of shots, and they're seen as what we should aim for, but you're right - there's beauty in all kinds of different things too! I think these Instagram trends will change, but in the meantime let's forge our own path! xx

  4. Oh my goodness, I can relate. I live in such a tiny space that taking a photo, any photo, is nigh impossible. White canvas I store nehind a door really helps me at least have an even background, but even that has its limitations.

    Luckily I post and blog for myself - very self-absorbed, me! :)) Then again, I want to make photos look as good as they can and I am not sure if that is just for myself or because I know others will see them. Possibly both.

    I do feel envious of those sometimes who seem to live an insta-worthy life. I am sure they all have their own problems so I tend to get over it quickly in most cases. Maybe that's something that comes with age. :-o

  5. Yes, you are so right! I think IG and facebook often give the impression that people's lives are amazing & beautiful but I think many people only share the good things or are really great at setting up their photos! Thanks for sharing the view of your room - mine is totally like that! I too struggle to find the best setting or the best light to take my photos. You are not alone! But does it really matter?The great thing about IG is that you meet some other lovely makers and get inspiration for new projects. I think you're right - we need to stop comparing or we will just feel inadequate & miserable. X


penny for your thoughts . . .

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