I've been wanting to do a post like this for a while, and with a big, month-long series around the corner, I thought now was a better time than ever. 

Instagram is a lie. I'm not talking about the high school friends you follow or the daily puppy page; I'm talking about those fashion bloggers you swoon over. The ones where you wonder how the heck they have such perfect pictures and such wonderful lives. My strawberries don't look that color. My desk is never that clean. My room is never that bright. The list can go on and on. 

The app that was originally designed to show you a (filtered) real-life image of your friends, family and idols has evolved into a staged and over-edited community. It can easily be compared to the editing that goes on in magazines that everyone is upset about. People are filtering their "real life" to make it more ideal, more "Pinteresting" and more of what they think people want to see.

I don't hate them for it, though. In all reality, it's smart. Their pictures have more likes, their pages have thousands of followers, and in turn their brand value increases. 

Instagram is a huge tool for bloggers, and probably one of the most important when you talk about your overall image. These are "real" up-to-date images of the bloggers you obsess over everyday. I just want people to be aware that we're doing this. We're creating and staging these images for you. We're doing it to drive your likes, your comments, your page views. I know friends who literally take hours to post an image. Some use three different apps. Many take 50 pictures to get the right shot. Almost all take a whole day to stage an image. The "instant" part of Instagram is no longer there.

So why am I telling you about this? Because I know I can get down on myself for not living in this world bloggers portray. I look around on other pages and get upset that my life isn't as picture-perfect. That's half the reason I don't follow a ton of bloggers on Instagram. It's all just so fake. The more you see it, the more you think it's the norm and the more you try to keep up with this life that no one is actually living. It's a vicious circle. I just wanted to shed some light on the situation and help others become aware. 

Just recently, on my trip to Hilton Head, I started doing the same. More because I wanted to show you the before and after pictures, and because I wanted to see if there was really a difference in how my followers respond. I wanted first-hand knowledge on the situation so I can talk about this from a fair and knowledgeable standpoint. 

Did I see more likes on my pictures when edited? Yes. 
Did I gain more followers? Yes. 

So there you have it. Take my rambling for what you want. Just be in the know.

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