“Instagram Stalking”: Why I do it and Who I “Stalk”

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Confession time. 

I sat in on Friday night feeling a little restless, a little bored and apparently ever so slightly self-destructive.

I sat there thinking to myself, who can I stalk on social media that will wind me up the most? An ex? An ex’s new girlfriend? The “successful” influencer who blatantly pays for their followers? The girl I’ve always hated for no reason? But I couldn’t think of anyone I cared enough about to intentionally seek out.

I was looking for someone who would really strike a nerve just to see their apparently undeserving happiness, how ‘ugly’ they had become or how they’d suddenly gained a lot of weight.

I thought and I thought and nope, there was no one who would bring the social media stalking satisfaction that was I was looking for. Then I thought, hang on, Niamh, what the f**k are you doing? What would stalking someone’s Instagram – seeing their beautiful or not so beautiful Instagram feeds – how would that be doing any good for you?

I’m not a nasty girl. I never have been and I never intend on being one. I wasn’t brought up to bring others down. I wasn’t brought up to laugh and mock others. I was brought up to celebrate others success, to celebrate my own success and definitely not to sabotage mine or others happiness. So why was I going out of my way to be nasty and negative not only to myself but to others whether or not they had done so to me?

Confession time, again. This time, we’re in it together.

We all bitch every so often. It’s kind of, almost (possibly not politically correct to say) but it’s human and if you claim you don’t, you’re lying. This bitching, nine times out of ten is accidental. “Accidental bitching? There’s no such thing.” I hear you, I hear you but stay with me for a second. Maybe you’re wound up and ranting, maybe they really hurt you and a sly dig comes out of your mouth without realising, maybe you’re jealous or insecure and don’t mean to be nasty. Though I may not have much authority on the topic, I’m granting you a hall pass on this one occasion but for going out of your way to be nasty? Not ok. Consider that hall pass well and truly revoked.

Back to the story for a sec. 

All in all, it was safe to say I was feeling pretty ashamed of myself. In a way, it was a positive experience because while there are people in my life I may feel uncomfortable around or intimidated by, there’s no one I actively hold a grudge against, certainly not enough to ruin my own Friday night.

Realistically, it’s none of our business how many ‘likes’ others are getting, how many ‘followers’ they have or how many amazing opportunities they’ve had that are yet to come our way. It’s none of our business if two separate friend groups in our lives are liking each others photos. How many likes or followers someone has on social media isn’t a reflection of a) how successful they are in life or b) how successful you are.

We’re a generation crying out to be liked, even if it is mostly on a virtual basis. But what about how much we like ourselves? What about how much our family and loved ones like us? Are you healthy? Are you happy? Have you got a roof over your head and a bed to crawl into at night? These are the things that matter. Define your own success and move on from depending on the approval of others to see you through. God knows, I’m trying to.

Today when I got home from work, I went through the list of people I follow and have started to remove those that provoke these comparative and negative thoughts. Let’s see how much of a difference it makes. Will I just seek them out again or is ignorance truly bliss? Here’s hoping for the latter.

Photos by Kellie Scott

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Niamh ♥

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