Take It All In Without Your Phone: Why Instagram Is Ruining What It Means To Live Your Life

“Smile!” (Actually, duck face!) As soon as the iPhone light flashes, a huge question permeates your priority list: Mayfair? X-Pro? Which filter will make your photo look best?

Instagram has given anyone with a smartphone the ability to feign a background in photography. Literally — the app can yield a product that professionals generally need DSLR cameras and special lenses to achieve.

This channel of social media provides a mobile Photoshop of sorts that allows individuals to capture their memories and instantly upload a photo without enduring the inconvenience of computer editing prior to posting the photo.

With these features instantaneously available, we find ourselves snapping photos of anything in sight: California rolls, famous clubs… clouds. At a certain point, it seems that Instagram creates a chicken or the egg-esque dilemma: Are we using it to capture memories or are we just creating memories in order to use it? As in, does anyone really care what our sushi looks like? Or do we just like the world to know what we’re eating?

Maybe subconsciously so, but the app puts a disproportionately high priority on one's personal image. Would you put as much effort and money into a killer costume for a party if you weren’t going to “Insta” it? Knowing that the outfit will most likely be laden with sweat and spilled drinks by the end of the night, it seems that you probably wouldn’t.

We have so much ensconced ourselves within a culture that promotes the idea of flaunting our daily activities that we’ve at least partially lost the thrill of self-satisfaction. A lot of us do things to build a moment and then fall short when it comes to experiencing the moment completely. We sit there waiting for “likes” and keeping tabs on our followers rather than the real-time beauty around us. We do things for the “Insta.”

This is not to say that every person uses this platform for the sole basis of projecting his or her life as a magnificent montage of adventurous, lofty memories. However, for those of you who do this, stop filtering your lives and pick up your heads. Live for you, not for the “Insta.”