For You or Your Followers?

For You or Your Followers?

She’s young, pretty and bored.

She fake tans and applies makeup. Cleans her room and makes her bed. She changes out of her brother’s old T-shirt she wears as pyjamas and into a new dress, clicking away at the iPhone screen.

She slides back into the daggy tee, swipes through 284 photos, marks her favourites and begins the editing process. A handful of filters make her teeth whiter and others her skin darker. Once the images have endured multiple different editing apps, she’ll decide which makes the cut.

Hours have passed. When her 7:30pm ‘primetime’ alarm goes off, she jumps on Pinterest in search of an inspirational quote, but it gets too hard, so she decides on ‘Day with the girls’ as her caption.

Validation in the form of likes begins to roll in, each comment boosting her self-esteem like nothing else in her life can.


As a culprit of contributing to this unrealistic version of life that is Instagram, I am involved in both the deceptive posting and the permitting of validation. Despite having firsthand experience in how fabricated Instagram posts can be, I still somehow fail to recognise the unnatural circumstances of other’s photos. It makes me angry that I compare my life to those on social media, and it’s easy to see how other impressionable users would also do so.

Reality is, the majority of society will visit that waterfall, buy that eyeshadow pallet or order that smoothie bowl because they’ve seen it glorified across Instagram by someone who’s probably paid to do it.

On many occasions, I’ve found myself forgetting to enjoy whatever I am taking a photo of.

I’m out to breakfast with my friend. The food is served, but not eaten for 10 minutes. Within that time, the sugar bowl and small flower vase have been aesthetically positioned with our açai and Buddha bowls. Standing on our stools for high angle shots has caused a few unfriendly stares, but the mouth-watering snap story and cute Insta Boomerang was totally worth it.

Instagram has exploded in popularity within the past few years because it’s a way of social networking that connects peoples solely through visual elements. The app provides a powerful means by which to capture and sustain our attention.

Considering cafes, bars, stores and resorts will pay thousands for an influencer to post about their joint, it’s obvious to see how destinations can be portrayed idealistically and how the not-so-glorious parts of some places don’t surface on the screens of millions of users.

Today my bike chain snapped in the middle of a busy Indonesian road, shortly followed by my credit card being eaten by an ATM. Therefore, I spent my time walking the streets, drowning in sweat and being starving hungry as I had run out of cash.

Tonight, I’ll post a shot of me yesterday lying peacefully by the pool of my villa. As the photo was taken, I was being embraced by the cushioned daybed, soaking in every ounce of vitamin D and sipping on a cold Bintang.

At least my followers will think my time here is perfect.

Cover by Lina Yatsen

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