Spirituality & Instagram: Why Spirituality Has Gone The Way Of Instagram
by Amanda Linette Meder
I can't watch anything horror related before bed.
Ever since I was a little girl, it's given me nightmares.
And although I still love a good ghost movie, which I now watch to compare trends in the media for how the spirit world is being portrayed, I largely have to do this during the day, because otherwise, I won't be able to sleep.
Case and point a few nights ago, I watched Babadook, an Australian Film about a children's book monster that comes alive. Actually, he's a shadow man, but that's beside the point.
One of Babadook's primary hook statements is this:
the more you deny, the stronger I get
The more a person denies his existence, the more effort he will make to make himself known. And that he did.
Anyway, it didn't matter how early I watched Babadook, the idea of Babadook himself kept me up all night, because what he was saying was somewhat accurate. The more you deny a spirit who is trying to get your attention, the more they will try to get your attention. But alas, and moving on to calm my mind while the whole house rested, I took to Instagram.
Instagram is full of inspiring, positive messages.
Look anywhere on Instagram, and you'll see swarms of social media accounts featuring daily moon ceremonies, card readings, words of inspiration, and people turning the mundane into the spiritual.
What is all this about? And why has Instagram become the face of new spirituality?
Instagram gives people an opportunity to reflect and find meaning in their everyday lives and according to the HuffPost, it works, because no one does this better than Instagrammers.
Being a photograph focused platform, to participate as an Instagrammers, you must take moments of your everyday life to share it with others. This act of pause provides the snapper with a few simple moments of reflection, in an otherwise busy day.
Taking time through the day is something we rarely so for ourselves, but we so deeply need. Our soul needs this. And Instagram fulfills this need - the need to share our experiences with others and to find meaning in everyday life. So people do.
And so Instagram has gotten pretty spiritual.
You can't scroll through a list of 100 posts and go without seeing something meant to be inspirational, uplifting, and change agenting.
There are a lot of activists, spokespersons, and deeply spiritual people on Instagram who've got a lot to say and share.
Being that it's an image-focused platform; it's the perfect place for people look for symbolism in their daily moments. The imagery we see all around can always be translated into the symbolic - as it has been this way since the dawning of time. Instagram simply taps into this.
People choose Instagram to share their symbolic moments, and because Instagram has an intimate, personal feel people are even more encouraged toward authentic sharing.
Though Instagram is a mostly public platform, people share because it feels much more private than other social media sites, you don't get trolls or strangers so much as you do on other sites and distant relatives are less likely to follow and comment on your posts there.
With less of a threat of family and lingering classmate judgment on Instagram, which has become so rampant on Facebook, Instagrammers feel safer to pour their hearts out. This gives Instagram a more intimate feel, making it a perfect place for users to feel safe being vulnerable.
Because of this, Instagram is becoming the new Xanga or Livejournal of today.
A place where people record their thoughts.
According to NYMag, Instagram is really becoming the new form of blogging, as people are increasingly turning toward Instagram not just as a place to post filtered artsy photos but to spill their lives and thoughts into their captions, as well.
Captions are not just the short, sweet blurbs of yesteryear anymore. Once someone gets going, the attachments that go with each photo can really turn into a sort of mini-blog post.
Being that an Instagram account is far easier to set up than a blog, it makes sense it would become a more favorable platform to do this on.
And as much as Instagram may be the new Xanga or Live Journal for today's expressionists, it's also a great platform for developing brand trust, reliability, and credibility, if you're planning on doing that. Instagram pushes authenticity, meaning that you get to see the soul behind the scenes, something that people want to do more of.
According to the book, Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World, today's consumers are looking for trust in a brand, and a certain level of authenticity behind the brand's chief spokesperson. Today, many CEOs, founders, and idea-makers are becoming their own company spokespersons.
These days, Spiritual Bloggers and Doers of all kinds are becoming spokespeople. And because they crave authentic posts themselves, Instagram acts as a matchmaker for meeting and finding other spiritual minded friends.
A quick scan of the hashtags on Instagram and you'll find cliques, tags, and shared posts that indicate who is friends with who, who promotes who, and soon you'll find that Instagram is quickly becoming a web of connection. Kind of like a friendlier LinkedIn, Instagram is a friend-colleague finding network, that works for entrepreneurs, start-uppers, and motivators of all kinds.
This is where Rachael Webb comes into play. I learned about Rachael through my sister, Sarah Petruno, who is a big fan of her work.
Rachael is the founder of The Energetics of Instagram School who specifically trains people to lead the spiritual Instagram revolution. In turn, teaching them how to leverage their brand to a higher position and build trust in their community and respective fan bases.
Located in Hawaii, Rachael helps spiritual entrepreneurs, CEOs, and brands, become their most authentic self on Instagram, but even without Rachael's help, Instagram is becoming a huge lever for anyone looking to build a level of authenticity and community around a business, a brand, or a concept.
This is why it's so popular among spiritual people.
Spiritual people crave authenticity, realness, rawness, honestness.
All of these traits are built into the very cores of Instagram's model of real people, sharing real moments.
So to recap, this is why Instagram is seeing such an increase in spiritually based accounts and posts:
- Instagram fulfills a deep soul need in all people, the desire to have and share real meaning in life. Because people can now fulfill it there and they do.
- Instagram feels more private than other platforms, and you're less likely to have aunts and old classmates follow you, so people feel more comfortable in sharing their real self.
- Instagram itself pushes authentic moments, making it a semi self-policing vehicle where you can find individuals and brands you can trust because you get to see the real personality behind the person.
- Thanks to the #hashtag system, it's easier to network and make organic friendships on Instagram than on other networks, which is something all adults secretly crave - new friends.
Instagram's #hashtags group ideas, concepts, and builds connections, just allows people to connect better with and follow an idea purported by others interested in the same thing. This creates a sort of backwards LinkedIn environment that connects entrepreneurs and starter-uppers, a group of people, who let's face it, mostly consist of people who are out to live their purpose with other people who want to live their purpose, too, via the #hashtags.
In other words, Instagram was made for people who want to live a more authentic lifestyle - spiritual folks - and it's popular because gives those looking for authenticity, real moments, and truth, an opportunity to find and connect to those looking for the same.
It's the perfect place online right now for sharing your most intimate thoughts, in the most user-friendly way, with small groups of interested people, most of whom are looking for exactly what you are looking for - authenticity.
But hey, before you jump off and quit everything but Instagram (and get all go Instagram or go home on me). . . one last thing:
Though Instagram may be great for building brand authenticity and as a vehicle for getting spiritual thoughts into people's minds in the every day, I think it still lacks the historical retrieval capabilities that traditional blogging has. You can't Google an Instagram post the way you could a blog post. But perhaps some people like that.
That temporalness of Instagram could be something makes people feel even safer in spilling their souls. Perhaps a part of that is what leads to a more authentic sharing.
Amanda Linette Meder