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.

By 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.