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Inside the Movement to #Make Instagram Casual Again

It takes milliseconds to receive validation for posting something online, but the effort and stress that goes into creating the perfect piece of content is far from a quick click away.

With filters, captions, and the actual process of taking a photo, this unhealthy culture would boggle anyone unfamiliar with it. They would rightly think this time-consuming habit is absurd.

When Instagram first started, it was a place to post snippets of your life. Maybe you got your nails done, or it was your friend’s birthday party. You simply snapped a cool picture and uploaded it, regardless of how many likes you would receive. Now, teenagers are anxiously waiting to hit upwards of 1,000 followers. It doesn’t matter who those people are as long as a four-digit number is displayed on their page. The same goes for likes. Time and time again, posts are removed when likes weren’t instantaneously pouring in. Over the years, an insidious idea has formed: if someone does not double-tap your post, it’s a reflection of your own content.

But usually, someone is scrolling through their feed mindlessly. A like is a subconscious tap, not a true reflection of someone’s opinion. Over 1 billion people use Instagram every month, yet we expect random followers to like posts personal to our own lives. The platform has become a place to show exclusively good pictures of yourself. Instead of a reflection of life, users build a false narrative using photoshop and uncomfortable poses. According to a Springer Nature study, the more that an individual uses Instagram, the greater the chances of that individual developing an eating disorder. This inauthenticity leads people to change themselves into the person on their screen. Society has lost touch with individuality thanks to this inauthenticity. But, pandemic life seems to be turning it around for the better.

After a universal feeling of entrapment, Instagram became a place to connect. Getting deeper into quarantine meant many stopped worrying about creating the perfect picture. Options were limited in terms of being able to go out. But people still wanted to post about their lives, no matter how mundane their routines had become. This led to the movement called #makeinstagramcasualagain.

Why should we desperately want to keep up with others during quarantine? It’s exhausting and mundane. That said, quarantine also increased time at home, which meant more hours scrolling on the phone. But people started to post pictures of their day-to-day lives that weren’t highly edited or taken on the umpteenth try. Casual pictures seem to infiltrate the timeline more and more. This was a breath of fresh air after several years of trying to achieve the perfect post.

One of the biggest trends, when it came to keeping things casual, became camera roll dumps. These consist of up to 10 pictures or videos in an Instagram post of anything from your outfit one day to a screenshot of a text exchange between friends. While celebrities have been partaking in this trend, these can mostly be found on smaller accounts. It’s a fun way to catch up on someone’s life through an accurate and often comedic lens. So how can you join the movement? Start by posting whatever you want! Forget about filters and the perfect caption, just use Instagram as a platform to say what’s on your mind at that exact moment. It doesn’t matter who will end up double-tapping. Casual Instagram pages are for the people in your life who matter, and who genuinely care about what’s going on with you. The only way to encourage this genuine version of Instagram is to take matters into your own hands. Plus, it’s more exciting to share cute pictures of your dog or a cake you baked over the weekend than a selfie you spent hours perfecting. Showcase what makes you smile to make others smile as well. These camera roll dumps may be a fleeting trend, but an unairbrushed Instagram doesn’t have to be. By coming together and being real on the gram, we can turn social media into a place of genuine happiness. So the next time you come across a picture that made you feel joy, don’t be afraid to share it! It’s time to bring Instagram back to its roots. Join the thousands of users who just want to #MakeInstagramCasualAgain!

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