I was visiting my parents a couple of weeks ago and my mom and I got into a conversation about what I was like as a child. Before I knew it, mom was rummaging through a stack of boxes in the garage to dig out the family photo albums she had saved over the years.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon flipping through pages of photos reminiscing about the history of our family from the early 70s when my parents were kids to the late 90s when me, my sister, and brother were born.

Back then, photos were an honest description of what life was like. There was no place to post them publicly for the world to see and there were no filters to alter their true representation. They were taken without superficial tendencies, elaborate staging plans. Photos were future memories to be cherished and kept only for the enjoyment of family and close friends.

This got me thinking about how much the world has changed since we were kids.

Today, the thought of owning a physical photo album almost seems archaic. Our photo albums only exist digitally and are put on display for the world to see across multiple social media platforms. They are rarely an honest description of what our life is like. We spend hours curating, staging, and filtering them. We take hundreds of shots so that we have a better chance of getting one that's slightly more perfect than the last and we only share what's popular by demand.

Our perception of photography has been completely altered because of this.

When you look at your Instagram feed, how many of your photos will mean something to you if you looked at them 20 years from now? 

For most of us, we won't remember the majority of photos we posted on our Instagram because we spent so much time curating the perfect shot that we forgot about why we were inspired to take the photo in the first place.

One of the best things about social media is that it gives us an opportunity to share the moments that matter most to us, but it's also taken away from our ability to live in the moment so that we can tell the stories behind our photos.

When we share photos that have a story behind them, it gives people something to relate to and connect with. The most sharable and likable content on the Internet is story-based. This is because we are craving honesty. We want to know what's real and truthful so that we can feel less alone in our experiences and find people who are just like us.

The next time you feel inspired to share a photo on Instagram, think about why you're doing it. Are you doing it because it's something that's important to you? Or is it because it's guaranteed to get you the most likes?

We create the most impact on social media when we share a true and honest representation of our lives and that's how we become positive influencers who inspire others to do the same. 

Join me for the next Insta Meetup on Saturday, April 27. I'll be talking about how we can create a more positive impact on social media by telling the stories behind the photos we take.  

IG @ashkilback @thestorytellersclub

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