Balancing Popularity And Authenticity In An Instagram World

Ceaseless Exploration

Throughout the past three months as we have been exploring how to best share our adventures with all of you, certain questions keep coming up. “What are our goals? What do we hope to accomplish from this sharing? What do we want our story to be?”

In the search for the most relevant, simple yet effective platform to use, we found ourselves arriving in the world of Instagram. When we first stepped off the proverbial boat, new to this digital world, we were dazzled by all the crisp, stunning images of picture perfect tropical destinations. The beaches were pristine white, the water piercing turquoise, the sunsets a vibrant medley of harmonious colors. Impeccably made up woman in glamourous dresses were savoring opulent platters of delectable breakfast foods from the balconies of their private beachside cabanas. The captions said things like, “Just another average morning. What’s your fav breakfast food?” or “Breakfast in paradise. Would you travel here?”

It’s like a digital version of high school. Suck up to the popular girls, like their photos, comment, hope that they will notice you and introduce you to their friends. Hope that they will tell everyone else about you and say that you can be popular too.

I see the game, I am beginning to understand the rules. The difference is that now, unlike high school, I find that I do not wish to play. We can jump through the hoops, we can create exactly what the masses want, but at the end of the day where will we find ourselves?

I thought that the popular girls had it all. Now, I am not so sure. I envy the image, the simulated veneer of perfection that they flawlessly portray. A part of me does wish that I too could be the star of such stunning travel photos, the envy of everyone who views them. But is that really the point? Is that really the goal? Is inciting feelings of jealousy really what I hope to accomplish from sharing our journey?

Who we are and what we are doing is so much richer and deeper, is about so much more. “What do you want to be?” I want to be both popular and authentic, but if I have to choose one, I choose authenticity.