I've realized we (Wandering Bison) have become inauthentic. We've become superficial. Playing the small game like it's the big one - playing for likes not hearts. You may be able to feel it... or you may not. But the thing is, I know it's true.
And to be brutally honest, I think it's kind of always been that way. I've listened to marketing gurus and branding specialists. I've learned how to create a pretty company. But while doing that, I think I lost the realness. I branded the connection right out of my business. And I don't think there's a more apparent depiction of that than on Instagram.
Lately I've been really struggling with Instagram. It's more about how pretty our grid looks than how honest we're being. A cool picture seems to pay, but I've been asking myself - at what cost? Why am I busting my butt to fill our feed full of... nothing? At least nothing that really means anything. What are we doing? Just scrolling and scrolling for hours - pretty picture after pretty picture, and very little substance. Somehow it feels like we're becoming consumers. Consumers of an idealized life, maybe? Or maybe we're consuming beauty - kind of feeding on it until we've hollowed it out. I'm not really sure... but whatever it is, it feels wrong.
And we (Wandering Bison) are part of the problem. I just recently listened to a podcast by REI's Wild Ideas Worth Living called How to Unplug with Danny Kim. I know it sounds cliche. It is not. I highly recommend taking 40 minutes for a listen. In that podcast they talk about screen and social media addiction. It's our new drug of choice. It's what we've started to turn to on a bad day for comfort, on a good day for a reward, or simply as a way to validate ourselves. We're sacrificing the relationships right in front of us for the ones on our phones. And gosh, I see the truth in all of it, and I just don't want to be a part of it.
But we are a part of it. We're feeding into the monster. We're feeding into it for ourselves, and we're pushing content that enables others to feed into it. And I feel so convicted.
I'm not really sure what the solution is. I can't say that Instagram is bad in itself, and I can't say that it isn't being used in really positive ways. But I can say that it is absolutely having a negative impact on most of our lives with the way we're currently relating to it.
So, with that conviction, I've decided that we're no longer going to use other people's images on Instagram just because they're pretty. Outside of product photos I'm only going to use photos that we take. They might not be the most beautiful, they probably won't make a pretty grid, and most of the time they'll be in normal, everyday locations. But they will be real. They'll be us. And I hope that it won't feed into this comparison/validation monster that most of us experience.
However, since creating content takes a whole lotta time, I may be posting a little less frequently. Because if that's what it takes to step out of the superficial and into the authentic - we're ready to make that leap.
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