Is Authenticity Bullsh*t?


April 28th, 2022

Social media is fake: true or false? In a sea of curated images, influencer content, and sponsored posts, it’s easy to say that it is. It’s why many Gen-Zs have flocked to TikTok or BeReal to connect more authentically with those around us. We often tell brands and influencers to “be authentic” – but what does that really mean? Are any of us authentic on social media?

Instagram’s flop era.

We can all agree that Instagram is in its flop era. Right? Right??? It went from being a space for us to update our friends on our lives to… not… that…

Instagram evolved from a chronological feed to an algorithm, adding “recommended posts”, and quite frankly has become more about e-commerce and less about sharing photos with your friends. Scroll on your Instagram right now and you’ll see that for every 1 post or story from your friend, there are at least 2 branded or sponsored posts. Don’t EVEN get me started on Reels, which is basically a subpar TikTok for people who are too lazy or too stubborn to get the damn app (I will admit this was me prior to March 2020). 

Instagram tried to do everything, that they ended up doing nothing right. As Instagram declined, Gen-Zs took things to their own hands in an attempt to be more real: creating finstas, shitposting, and pushing for “casual Instagram.” But is casual Instagram authentic? Or is it an even greater performance?

The studied carelessness of casual Instagram.

We like to blame COVID for a lot of things but COVID did actually play a huge role in the casual Instagram shift. Because we had nowhere to go, no one to see, and nowhere to be seen, our content reflected that. As we’re coming out of COVID (which we better be), we’re coming out with a new social media aesthetic: one that’s blurry, unfiltered, and low-light.