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Instagram Is A Lie

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Did anyone else get a weird enjoyment out of watching Instagram models beg for you to turn on their notifications? It was like having the hot girl come sit with you in the cafeteria because she was running for student council. As if she didn’t already have enough praise and attention, she also needed this one last safety net for her social validation. It was even better that half of these models post quotes about believing in oneself below their cleavage shots, and then the minute they found out there was a chance they wouldn’t be at the top of your feed they turned into the self-conscious people that live inside all of us.

It’s easy to believe in yourself when God blessed you with the ability to tell a boring story and have people listen for ten percent longer than they would have for an ugly person. But what about when the rules change? What happens when Papa Instagram says there will be a curfew? Maybe that guy is going with the girl who isn’t as hot and has the downstairs bedroom with a sliding door to the outside. Maybe those boobs aren’t everything. Maybe there are a million other similar posts.

I get that the fun of social media is to interact, and all of us are accustomed to our own amount of said interaction. We know what a “good post” gets in likes and the specific people who like a lot. It’s a little sad to know, but we know. I totally understand that these models would be a little nervous to find out that their thousand likes could go down to a few hundred. It’s easy for us normal people to not feel bad about that. But I can understand it.

Imagine that you went from having all these tests with grades that accumulated to a final grade. Then imagine the teacher stopped giving grades and you were just supposed to know you were doing fine because every time you handed in a test the teacher said, “Thanks,” and never called you into their office. That would be a tough change to go through. By the way, that change is exactly what happens at your first job, so get ready for that mind fuck.

The issue is dishonesty. This vague idea that this new way Instagram would organize its feed would mean that I’d be “missing out.” I think I’ll be okay, Boobs McBoobnips, or whatever your name is. I think I’ll find you or someone else like you if I really need it. But what am I missing? Not one account was honest about why I should click that notification button. Not one said, “Turn on my notifications or you’ll miss how much nipple you can see on Halloween!” And this isn’t just a problem with the models — it also applies to normal people you follow because they act like human smashed cars on the side of the highway. The people you follow just to screenshot. Not one of their posts said, “Turn my notifications on because I’m a 25-year-old life coach after quitting my only job and my posts make up around 80% of your group chat conversation!” Not one. All of them were either vague or talked about something I didn’t even know their account was about. Have you guys been getting your fitness tips from a hot chick on Instagram? Have you guys been inspired by a girl’s Monday quotes? Me neither.

But it’s tough to ask that our Instagram models be more honest than the followers themselves. We are probably a lot worse. Especially men. How could we ask the models to be less vague than we were when we followed them. How can we ask the girl with the following that’s big enough for us to barely know her and follow, but small enough for her to hopefully see our like, to act better. I mean it’s not like our “like” means the same thing as a thumbs up. For most of us, a “like” means way much more than that. It’s that tap on the window to let you know that we’re there, we’re willing, we’re erect, whenever she wants to just say “hey.”

Every now and then, I’ll get into a conversation with someone about a person we both know who is awful on Instagram. Notification-gate was perfect because it should show us all that any amount of frustration about likes or posts should just be laughed at. This whole thing is a produced act of fiction. It showed what we should have already known about an app that can make you look ten times hotter than you actually are in person. It outed everyone as liars. It highlighted that your quotes mean nothing, my likes mean I’m horny, your birthday collage tribute for your friend was made with all good pictures of you, the picture of your baby got you to feel a little less alone while home on maternity leave, and everything on Instagram is about self-gratification. So let’s all chill out and respond to all my creepy taps on your window.

Image via Instagram/@paulinagretzky

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Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a New York City-based comedian who has been featured on MTV’s Failosophy and is the host of The JTrain Podcast presented by TFM.

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