A big topic of debate in the social world right now, is being authentic what people really want to see? Do people really want to see the behind the scenes and not just the perfect photo in the end?
Remember old school Instagram?
Remember when Instagram was simply taking a photo of what you were eating, throwing the Valencia filter over it, and calling it good?
I feel the closest we’ve gotten to that since then is watching Emily in Paris post an unfiltered selfie to her social media…
Now Instagram is a platform filled with perfectly curated outfits, food, and travel photos. Sure you may run into the occasional “I just woke up like this” photo that actually represents how the person woke up but is that what you came to the platform for?
Are people really wanting authenticity online?
Think about it, why do people come to Instagram? I know I’m there to see inspo fashion pics, travel destinations, and aesthetically curated images. I find many others are coming for some kind of curated type content as well.
However lately, especially this last year there’s been an uproar from people about wanting to see “more authenticity” from influencers online.
When I hear that someone wants to see “more authenticity” online I register that as showing more behind the scenes, not a perfectly curated photo, and maybe showing what is actually happening in a situation.
But I think if people actually starting to see that side of Instagram, would people still be drawn to the app?
Trying to be “more authentic” online
I decided to try out the “being more authentic” thing for myself.
I started to open up more about my chronic illnesses, the pros, and cons of a content day and really started to share how I felt about certain topics and discussions. The response was a bit surprising.
After about a month or of opening up more on my social platforms I noticed a general decline in engagement, DMs, and overall likes. I was still putting out my normal fashion-inspo content that had done well in the past, but now I was adding more meaningful captions and taking the time to explain situations in stories.
I was getting messages from others who thought my content was a bit of a downer and that it seemed like I was “complaining” more-so than opening up. I also had unfollows that also correlated with people thinking my content was depressing.
Now by no means am I a “big influencer” or someone who has hundreds of thousands of followers, but from this little experiment, I found that when I started to shift my content to being my more authentic self people took a step back.
But isn’t this what the public complains about? I’m being more authentic about my day and what is actually happening – so what’s going on?
After that little authentic experiment, I found from my experience that most people only want to see “curated authenticity.”
Essentially a curated lifestyle means an individual still is curating what they are putting out there but posing it as authenticity.
Such as someone taking a photo of what they look like when they just got up – but it’s still posed, potentially a little filter on it, and fixing it up to look presentable online.
After thinking more about it I realized this method makes sense like I stated earlier people are drawn to Instagram for specific reasons and it usually includes a form of escapism.
Whether that is admitted or not, people are drawn to the photo lifestyle that is Instagram. They want to scroll into another lifestyle for a bit, whether it’s through travel photos, a good recipe, fashion outfits, or even funny meme videos.
And Instagram capitalizes on that by showing you more of what you search for and who you interact with.
After taking note of what I found with my Instagram, I went back to how I was posting before. Sharing more highlights of the day, and keeping the authentic conversation to a minimum.it
Did it hurt a little? Absolutely, as someone who started using social as a way to connect and get to know others on a broader spectrum, I was shocked that trying to be more authentic wasn’t working.
There could be more factors into it as well, such as that’s not why people came to follow me in the first place, showing mental health isn’t my main platform or even it just didn’t fit with fashion.
I do understand there are more variables that could have contributed to it, but I was still taken back since I’d heard so much that creators should be more “authentic.”
This mentality definitely contributes to the feeling of not being enough on social media.
But it’s a double edge sword though because at the same time people want to see the highlights. In the end, I feel stumped.
Do you prefer to see more authenticity online?
I would love to know thoughts below on how you feel about seeing more authenticity online. Is it something you are drawn to or do you prefer seeing the highlights?
Have you tried being authentic online? If so what was the response? I’d love to know if this outcome is more common.
Let me know below or slide into my DMs here @tinapey on Instagram.