I had to unfollow a prominent gay Instagrammer today out of pure annoyance for the way he posted about his relationship on the platform. He seems to be a talented guy who I digitally respect, but unfortunately, his relationship oversharing became too much. I’ve talked about social media’s impact on gay relationships before, but I figure today was a good time to revisit and rant on the topic. Despite posting on Instagram quite often, I am not shy about saying that it is a toxic platform if you allow it to be. You have people curating an idealized version of their otherwise mundane lives and shoving it down your throat, day in and day out. They want you to buy, see, watch, click, like, and follow. On Instagram, everyone looks better than you, is richer than you, more accomplished, having more fun, going to cooler places, and generally living a way better life than you seemingly can attain. I suppose there are two camps of Instagrammers. The regular people who are sharing their lives and those who are trying to advertise themselves or their causes for business or exposure. Both camps can be uniquely annoying and inauthentic.
Today’s rant is about a “business” Instagrammer who would like us to follow his work and support his causes. I do not know this person and I have never spoken to him. His Instagram is primarily about his work and causes, but he does share selfies and aspects of his lifestyle as well. It seems he has gotten into a relationship recently and began posting about he and his boyfriend. I’m talking more than an occasional Valentine’s Day post or gratuitous “I love this guy” candid. These two are taking curated pictures with one another. They are doing sponsored posts together, shirtless posts together. They are commenting on each other’s posts and replying to those comments when they seem to live together and be right next to each other? “Babe, our workout is going to suck today!” They are staging photoshoots of themselves doing otherwise uninteresting tasks. Here’s us cooking eggs in underwear on a Sunday. Our house is perfectly clean and decorated, our bodies are perfectly toned, and even the eggs look curated. I’m sorry egg whites, or else how would they have the abs? Here’s us hiking with our trainer @whiteguytrainerinhollywood, we are living such a natural and healthy life because of his classes #ad! Yes, I always think, as natural as an activity can possibly be with studio-quality photography and a sponsorship tax deduction. I can tolerate some of this nonsense because sadly, it makes up a lot of Instagram. But we all hit a breaking point with the fake and curated gay Instagram relationships shoved in our face.
Lex, where is this going? I usually add something constructive to my complaints. My thought is this. I don’t think social media or love is going away, so we should build a consensus about how not to be obnoxious about it in our own lives. At the end of the day, influencers are going to be influencers and we can’t really change how obnoxious they may be. We can speak with our follows and unfollows so I highly encourage all of you to unfollow people who are being consistently fake on social media. Make sure the people you are consuming on social media are bringing something of value to your life. More importantly, the rest of us should be cautious with how we share our relationships on social media. Here are some suggestions:
- A relationship shouldn’t take over your social media just like a relationship shouldn’t take over your life. It should be a big part of your life, but not the only part. If you are leading a balanced life, your social media will likely reflect it. So you might be overdoing it if every single post is of you and your boo.
- Don’t think too hard about relationship posts. I live for a good aesthetic, but if you are staging moments, filtering for hours, or doing activities just because they will result in a good Instagram photo, you are doing the most.
- Save some stuff for yourself. A relationship should be a special and intimate understanding between you and your partner. I find it much sweeter to have done something just for you two without sharing it with the world. It builds a deeper and personal connection than updating your 700 closest friends with every aspect of your date night.
- Just be real. The least annoying Instagrams, even those with consistent relationship posts, are the pages where you can tell someone is speaking their truth. “Here’s my boo eating chicken wings – this fool loves chicken wings.” vs. “our love is unfettered, like a chicken roaming free outside of the harsh constraints of the metaphorical coop.”
Together, we can create a less annoying Internet.