On the last day of my board exams, five of my friends accompanied me home to celebrate our victory over the monstrosity called exam season. I should have been wild with joy at the prospect of finally spending a few well-earned hours of fun with my best buds. But after a long month of uncompromising hard work, my mind wandered over to the Instagram account on my forgotten phone, neglected until then. It was then when I realized just how deeply Instagram had affected our lives; like every single thing in this world, it had two sides of a coin to consider. It intrigued me to dig more.
How Much Has Instagram Changed Our Life?
Children my age are deemed teenagers; not quite adults but mature enough to not be called kids. It is this age group that is most affected by this social media monster. Psychologists say that receiving “likes” on an Instagram post releases the chemical dopamine in the brain, which gives the sensation of pleasure. In plain terms, alike can make us smile. This is, perhaps, the reason Instagram is becoming sort of an addiction. It deludes our senses and turns us into blank-minded robots who do nothing but a swipe at their sleek cellphone screens all day.
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Showcases an Idealistic Life
Instagram showcases an idealistic life. People mostly love to post lavish holidays to sun-kissed beaches, and expensive clothes snagged at the best designer showrooms in town. They are so busy capturing perfect pictures on their cameras that they forget to capture them in their memories. It creates unnecessary pressure to maintain an amazing feed on our already stressed heads. Instagram adds a rosy filter to the otherwise crude world, making everything seem blissful; when, in fact, it is not. This is not the message that we, like children, should be learning.
Provides Endless Opportunities
On the other hand, Instagram is a platform for dreams and creativity. It provides endless opportunities for promoting one’s interests. Many businesses have moved online because Instagram helps reduce costs by eliminating the need to rent out as a physical store, providing free/cheap advertising, and unique ways to reach out to the general public. It becomes easier for small businesses to establish themselves in the market and showcase their products or services to a larger audience, but at a much cheaper rate. This also acts as a podium for artists of all kinds, helping them showcase their talents and gain recognition. It increases self-confidence in people and tries to inspire a positive and encouraging community where everyone is appreciated for their talent and helped to refine it.
Broadens your Horizon
Moreover, it helps break barriers in the truest sense. I could be sitting here in the comfort of my own house, in India, while making friends in Alaska, which is all the way across the world. At that moment, our religion, race, or color do not play on our minds or awaken our prejudice. Common interests bind us together and that supersedes physical or cultural borders. Instagram helps make the world smaller and less lonely. And only those who have experienced the beauty of it can truly appreciate it.
Personally, I feel it is pointless to argue over the true usefulness of Instagram. The truth is, it exists, and it is here to stay. Our focus should be on how we can make constructive use out of it, rather than shunning it away. Its benefits are too great to ignore and the problems are too small to lay emphasis on.
And thus, in conclusion (as in most cases), realism finds victory over both optimism and pessimism.
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