Instagram is one of many platforms where you can (and are basically encouraged to) assert your personal brand. On Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr, you can become whomever you want, or portray yourself however you want to be portrayed. The Internet is your oyster, boo. You do you (whatever you want “you” to be.)
I’m not totally saying we’re all just a bunch of fakers. When I see a gorgeously filtered photo of coffee, I assume you’re actually drinking coffee. If you post a picture of your new copy of Not That Kind of Girl, I don’t think you’re just posting to be cool. Or maybe you are posting to be cool, but at least you’re still reading it, and that’s what counts. I think.
But let’s be real for a minute: The reason why we post photos of ourselves to Instagram in the first place is so that we can curate our lives. Instagram is mostly performance art. We’re reading Lena Dunham, but we want the world to know that we’re reading Lena Dunham. If we were at the gym and didn’t take a selfie, were we really at the gym at all? Instagram allows us to become interesting, multifaceted people. And it’s not that we’re NOT those people, it’s that we are those people but...better versions. Here are some of the different personas we take on:
1. The foodie
You will post a photo of the rare seafood entrée you ordered because you want everyone to know that you take food exploration very, very seriously. You use the hashtag #foodie just in case people don’t get that that’s what you are.
2. The gym rat
Even if you’re only a quasi-athletic person, it is important that your efforts to run four miles on the treadmill and look on point in your Lululemon pants don't go to waste.
3. The Ann Taylor Loft model
You can pull off business-casual like it’s an Olympic sport: Loose cardigan, black skinnies, burnt-sienna scarf, and a pair of nude heels is your go-to outfit. It communicates that you’re a stylish #bossbitch and true #adult.
4. Gwyneth Paltrow
Frequently taking no-makeup selfies with your cold-pressed juice is your thing. You want people to know you’re down-to-earth and really, really care about your body. From time to time, you’ll post pictures of your new favorite snack (almond butter and organic apple chips, or gluten-free bagels and freshly chopped strawberries. Ugh. So fresh.) to show others how in tune you are with your health.
5. the gardener
Purchasing produce at Whole Foods is stupid when you can just GROW YOUR OWN produce. Quickly, your micro-farming obsession spirals out of control, and every day you’re posting pictures of your purple carrots and heirloom tomatoes, offering (but not really) them to your friends. #Homegrown all the way.
6. the motivational speaker
“She believed she could, so she did” and other inspirational mantras litter your Instagram, but you’re not sure if they’re for others, or just for yourself.
7. the spontaneous dream girl
She’s constantly flying all over the world, posting many a picture of airplane wings and bright blue skies. On Tuesday she’s sunbathing in Thailand, and on Thursday she’s reading her poems aloud in a coffee shop in L.A. She's constantly traveling, but somehow always looks like she just took a shower.
8. The baking goddess
There’s no greater accomplishment than a freshly baked apple pie in October, right? To show everyone just how attuned you are with your culinary inclinations, you post all of your pastry creations and wait for friends to tell you how good they look. I mean, you don't NEED the validation. But a little bit couldn't hurt.
9. The beauty blogger
There is room for ALL of us to be glamorous on Instagram.
10. The very productive person
A photo of a laptop and coffee, or an office, or a stack of completed files is the ultimate humble brag for “I'm better than you at making life happen.”
11. The hardcore Nutella fangirl
Nutella has a huge cult-y fanbase, and I think if you cut these Nutella lovers open, they will, in fact, bleed chocolate and hazelnuts. But sometimes we want our obsessions to be acknowledged.
12. The beer snob
You might not know the first thing about beer, but the second you post a filtered picture of your stout in a dimly lit gastropub, you have instantly become a beer connoisseur. You are untouchable, a drinker of fine craft beer.
13. The yuppie
This is a very general kind of persona, but it’s a prominent one. We all become an Instagram yuppie at one point or another. Whether it’s our brunch pics, our outfit of the day, the new mahogany hangers we just bought from Crate & Barrel, or our freshly shellac’d nails, we are just a bunch of wannabe WASPs.
14. The terrible adult
You want everyone to know that sometimes even you fuck up! But in an endearing way, obviously. Like, your fridge is sometimes empty (except for the block of cheese and wine, LOL), and your nails can be often chipped. But don’t worry — you’ll get it together tomorrow when you post a photo of that bomb kale Caesar and grilled salmon you’re planning on making.
It’s unacceptable to be anyone BUT Beyoncé when you’re on vacation (even if you’re just staying at Travel Lodge).
16. The unpaid Sprinkles PR person
No, you don’t work for Sprinkles, but you might as well. Every week, you post a picture of their iconic glob of vanilla frosting and copyrighted chocolate dot.
17. Someone who loves the “small things in life”
Such as peaches, happy dogs, cucumber water, the playground, sand. You want Instagram to understand that nothing makes you more happy than tiny, random (but beautiful) stuff.
18. The Cool Girl
A la Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the Cool Girl eats whatever she wants, gives endless blow jobs, stays a perfect size 2, and is chill with pretty much anything and everything. You post photos of you partying with the boys while they watch football or the hot dog you’re about to eat to show that you, too, are a Cool Girl.
19. The “individual”
You’d “rather be someone’s shot of whiskey, than everyone’s cup of tea” is your go-to mantra. You’re tough. I mean, you wear a leather jacket with plastic spikes on it. You have a cross tattoo on the back of your neck. Come on.
20. The literary scholar
You have a few pictures of your bookshelf up on Instagram because you couldn’t bear the thought of anyone not knowing you read. You are also very on top of your Goodreads account, but that’s another story.
21. Carrie Bradshaw
You’re a ~writer~ and you love fashion and New York and coffee and cigarettes. You’re also into dating and philosophizing about dating. You take many pictures of the book you're working on and your balcony overlooking the city. Because you are basically Carrie Bradshaw.