Do You Live Your Life Through Instagram?

With our generation always documenting every event that happens in our lives, I made up a term to explain this obsession: Instalives.


Photo by Spencer Randolph


“Oh my gosh Spencer! You only got 23 likes on this picture,” said my 12-year-old cousin Brooke as she browsed through my Instagram profile.

“So what?” I responded with a laugh.

“Aren’t you embarrassed? If one of my pictures gets less than 100 likes I delete it,” Brooke said.

Instant gratification is something that this generation, OUR generation, is completely obsessed with.

Whether it is how many “likes” we receive on any platform of social media, if someone doesn’t text or call us back immediately or if the Internet on our smartphone won’t load Pinterest right away, there seems to be a strong need for instant and complete gratification.

In fact, a Pew Research study found that currently 92 percent of teens 13-18 years old reported going online daily and of those 24 percent admit to being online constantly.

Personally, I find myself checking my phone way too many times during the day when I should be focusing on other things.

With a sense of purpose in my life I feel that becoming too obsessed with online personas can become an identity flaw because it reveals a sense of insecurity with one’s real life offline.

There is only so much the world of social media can do. Sure, it can connect us with friends and family far away and help us to stay in touch with people we would not otherwise get to see, but where else can it go?

In talking with my mom, she put to words exactly how I feel.

“Social media is great for staying connected and posting fun pictures for people to see, but in no way should your entire life be online,” she said.

I was interested in the perspective of my peers so I asked my classmate and fellow MBU Timeline staffer Brittany Gammon about her personal use of social media.

“Social media should be used for connecting with friends and family but should not be used for gaining social acceptance,” she said.

This is true.

Our generation has become so fixated on telling everyone what we are doing and posting pictures online to prove we went somewhere or did something; I feel that this takes away the gift of the present and in fact we begin creating “Instalives.”

To me, an “Instalife” (as I’ve named it) is a life that is centered around a perception one wants others to see them in.

Whether this means posting deceiving photos online, fake status updates or just painting a picture online that is not present in real life, it is wrong.

“Instalives” are everywhere. Heck, I have probably posted something “Instalife” worthy from time to time without realizing it.

My point is that we all need to stop creating “Instalives” and start creating real-life memories.

Social media and online connections are great when used in moderation and for productive purposes, however let’s all put our phones down, turn to the person next to us and make a personal, real life impression.

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Spencer Randolph

Spencer Randolph

Spencer Randolph is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline, majoring in communications. She is a member of the women’s basketball family, a server at Red Robin in Des Peres, and a part-time nanny. She looks forward to putting her communication career to work and eventually owning her own business.


About MBU Timeline


Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student newsmagazine of Missouri Baptist University, in St. Louis:
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
*The Bible verse that drives our mission is 2 Timothy 2:15 (Worldwide English Version): “Tell the true message in the right way.”
*The WordPress website has been up since late-fall 2013. We average about 3,000 sessions and about 5,000 pageviews per month.
*Our stories and galleries get as few as 40 or 50 hits, or as many as 8,000 hits.
*We have readers in every state and more than 90 countries around the world. We have several readers in South America, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
*Most of our readers are in Missouri, followed by Illinois, California and Texas.
*We do not accept advertising as we are a not-for-profit online newsmagazine.
*We welcome contributors from all walks of MBU life, regardless of your major. Reach out to us on Twitter at: @mbutimeline.