Make Social Media Casual Again

If there is one common thing among Americans, it’s the widespread use of social media. In 2021, 72% of American adults used social media regularly. As such an extensive aspect of modern culture, social media has massive effects on the country as a whole and every individual. 

A massive benefit of social media is the interconnectedness it provides people across the globe. Instagram, in particular, has a billion active users monthly, and Facebook has nearly double that. But this age of social media has masked the true authenticity of our lives. Over the years, posts have become carefully curated by users to portray entirely different versions of themselves online. Think about the time you spend scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. For most people, the large majority of that time consists of looking at posts that have been carefully chosen to either mark some special event or a vacation. The unspoken rule that Instagram and Facebook must be a perfect portfolio of our lives has had detrimental long-term effects. It made the platforms diverge from their original purpose and had a massive impact on users’ mental health, particularly adolescents. 

Social Media Influencer
Social Media Influencer

Teens and Media

For adolescents, it is easy to compare their own lives and looks to that of their friends on social media. Because of this, a massive problem ensues with the cherry-picked pictures and thought-out captions on Instagram and Facebook. These practices of only presenting the very best have become harmful to young people’s mental health by perpetuating a false narrative of perfection among their friends and peers. Because of this, however, several movements have arisen in the hopes of “Making Instagram Casual Again.” 

The idea of making Instagram casual again aims for users to make more ordinary and everyday posts. The idea can be seen through several trends, from ‘photo dumps’ where users will just post a series of random photos from their camera rolls, to posting the sandwich they had for lunch. The movement hopes to remind users that a person’s outward portrayal of themselves on social media is not 100% reality. It has gained such traction that a new social media platform is quickly emerging. The platform BeReal spontaneously notifies users to make a post at that exact moment of whatever they are doing. The idea of the app is to promote authenticity among its users with spontaneous and random check-ins.  

Real Sandwich

Even without the movement of “making Instagram casual again” or platforms like BeReal, users need to remember that not everything we see is a constant reality. The idea of sharing our lives with the world is not as effortless as it may seem and you are not the only person stressing about what to post or how many likes you’re going to receive.  

By Timandra Rowan


The California Aggie

Penn Medicine: Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

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