Human beings are funny things. We go out into the world with the best versions of ourselves, but still expect other people to recognise when we're struggling and need help, and are often surprised when they don't.
Where once we'd look at movies, TV and magazines and see flawless celebrities to aspire to, social media has solidified the idea of being 'Insta-perfect' in our everyday lives. On the one hand, as visual beings, we can appreciate a beautifully crafted Instagram post, but on the other, it creates an innate pressure when we realise our lives don't mirror those of our Insta-idols.
It's more than just a feeling; a study earlier this year found that Instagram is the worst social media platform for mental health. Comparison might be the thief of joy, but that doesn't stop us over-analysing every detail of our lives alongside those of our friends, family and celebrities. With over 700 million monthly users now on the platform, there's even more opportunity for these perceived views of reality to infiltrate young minds and create a warped sense of the world.
That's why we created #RealMeDay and encourage users to turn off filters on all posts through our Instagram scheduling platform for one day on the 7th September. We're not saying filters are inherently a bad thing, but looking at someone's world or sharing your own exclusively through the modern version of rose-tinted glasses can be damaging. Recent studies and news, particularly among young people, show this.
We're proud to have the support of the Mental Health Foundation as well as celebrities and influencers pledging to post their own filter free #RealMeDay photos during the inaugural day.
Don't get us wrong, this won't be a quick fix and this isn't just about going make-up free or posting a typical photo just without a filter. This is making it okay for people to peek behind the Instagram façade and see the real you. It's the glossy mum accounts when really their kid has drawn on the walls and they still can't get it off. Or the travel blogger who feels more at home in a hostel than a luxury villa. Perhaps it's the fitness fanatic who's embarrassed because he can't do a simple cartwheel. Or even the lifestyle blogger who hides her crippling anxiety from her fans.
It won't happen overnight, but let's make Instagram the place where imperfections are celebrated as much as filtered lives. By making Instagram a positive space as well as a beautiful one, we can help make a difference to the mental health of users the world over.
We hope you'll join us.
The first #RealMeDay is 7th September 2017 and is supported by the Mental Health Foundation. You can pledge your support here and post your own photo using the hashtag #RealMeDay to Instagram.