person holding phone while logging in on instagram application

More and more I’m hearing people talk about how social media, and particularly Instagram, has a negative effect on their wellbeing. The constant barrage of retouched images and seemingly perfect lives can take its toll, make you feel inadequate, and lead to unrealistic goals and comparison. Most people show the best part of their lives on social media, but what if you showed your true self on Instagram? What difference would it make to others if you showed the real you, your real life? This is why I started the hashtag #hidbythegrid

Should you show your true self on Instagram? 

After seeing discussions online, seeing tweets and comments on Instagram about how people felt when using the popular, picture perfect app, I thought about how different it would be if everyone showed their real lives.

Imagine scrolling through to see people’s chicken nuggets and oven chips on the table rather than a bottomless brunch at a fine dining restaurant. Or seeing someone with average lips applying the newest lip gloss to hit the stores, rather than plump, collagen injected lips that already have some on. What about outfit posts by people on their phones on an actual day out rather than images by a photographer with a perfectly styled outfit that they likely wouldn’t wear elsewhere and professionally edited, photoshopped bodies. 

Would it change people’s perspectives and allow them to be happier in their own lives? Would they look at themselves as just a normal person rather than someone who hasn’t quite figured out that perfect camera pout, or the ideal fashion pose? 

baby wearing yellow crochet long sleeve dress sitting on brown textile
I wonder at what age children start worrying about their poses now? How perfect is this one? Photo by J carter on

Is it realistic to expect others to share the good, bad and ugly side of life online?

It’s all well and good thinking about how social media can be used for the better, but putting it into action, expecting others to break their finely tuned and planned out Instagram grids is another thing. The challenge with Instagram is that while people say their mental health and wellbeing is affected by the falseness of Instagram, those accounts are still the most followed. 

Would you ruin your grid plan to inject some realness. Or do you share your real life, but still edit and arrange every photo so that it fits a theme?

I’ve thought about this a lot as I sometimes believe that aspirational Instagram accounts can be inspiring and good for us. However, only seeing those #gridgoals posts make some people think they are not worthy of using the app, or that their life is uninteresting, or that they’re not thin enough, or pretty enough to share pictures of themselves despite it being from a really happy memory. 

I thought about how people would choose to balance the perfect grid and the reality of life and came up with a hashtag that I think encompasses what I’ve explained above and allows for people to share their real life and behind the scenes alongside their final images – because editing to that degree is a skill and shall not be wasted!

I invite you all to use the hashtag #hidbythegrid

Hid by the Grid is all about letting people know that life for others is not always perfect, despite their Instagram feeds.

How to use #hidbythegrid

With this hashtag, it’s not about posting every sordid or even boring detail, but more about letting others in and letting them know that while life may look rosy in the Instagram edits, it’s not always like that. 

I think it’s a way to reach out to others and let them know that its okay not to have what you have, or eat where you do, or travel as much as you. It’s about showing normality again and adding some realism to an app that for many is full of fakery and competitive living. 

To use the hashtag without ruining your grid or theme, which sadly is something to consider when growing your audience, you could add the #hidbythegrid moment in a carousel post, or even just mention it in the caption. 

For example, you could share the mess you piled on the bed in order to get a shot of your ‘perfect reading nook’ – you know you moved some piled up clothes from that chair first! 
Or what about when you got that perfect photo of your outfit, but almost cried and deleted them all due to a confidence lapse?
Had a bad day? Why not let people know?

This is a hashtag that might not fit with every photo you share, but can be reserved for those where you want to remind yourself and others that there’s always another side to everyone’s story. 

Will this help the ever-growing wellbeing issues caused by social media?

I think its about time we brought some realism back to social media, and especially Instagram, in a bid to help people out of this constant comparative state and allow them to realise that just because the photos are good, what’s going on behind them might not be. 

With people from the age of ten jumping onto these platforms, they are growing up not only with the toxic mass media images of perfection that we all grew up with, but with their peers and people just like them with exagerrated lifestyles and a growing need for validation by strangers on the internet. 

If some of us can help towards showing a more realistic and achievable lifestyle, maybe some of the pressures on our own peers will ease and they’ll realise that we’re all in this together, bumbling along learning how to do life.

What do you think? Do you wish there was more realism on the likes of Instagram? Would you be happy to show your true self on the app? 

Let me know your thoughts, and also don’t forget to tag the hashtag #hidbythegrid I’ll be sharing some on my Insta Stories and will also keep a highlight of them on my feed, alongside #teaisforteam (because one hashtag isn’t enough right?)

Thanks to those who have used it already!