In Defense of Instagram

Well, I’ve moved to New York City for the summer – which if you didn’t already catch onto then you clearly don’t follow me on social media. I’ve 100% become that person who moves to New York City and takes a picture of every single facade that has ivy on it.

Some proof…

But lately Instagram has been getting a lot of attention in the media for being the most toxic social media. It has been linked to negative body images, bullying, and issues with sleep  habits. #Goals turn into a toxic comparison of your highlight reel to another persons highlights. Of course I too have fallen into this pattern. I would be lying if I said I haven’t, but here’s the thing – I still love Instagram. 

Some proof – this time of my love for Instagram…

(Yes, that’s literally me at the Instagram offices in Palo Alto, California and a selfie of me in an actual Instagram logo t-shirt. The love is real.)

Here’s my social media assessment: Facebook is the place you can stay connected to all your obligatory family members and distant friends. Twitter can be used for news and information. Instagram can be whatever you need it to be. 

For me, I like to use Instagram to follow a lot of women who inspire me to ~do things~. People who actually get out there every single day and create. People who are honest about how painful and confusing and difficult it often is to create over and over again. People who are engaged in the world around them, or #woke if you will. There’s a lot of things we don’t have control over in life, but if you’re in the position to be reading this article then you probably have the power to choose how your Instagram serves you.

SO, maybe it’s time to give your Instagram a bit of a facelift and figure out what it can do for you. Do you want it to inspire you to get out there and create? Do you want it to give you instructions as to how to #staywoke? 

To get you started here are some of my favourite creators and activists who could be doing some pretty cool things on your feed: 

1. Jemma & Emma | @storiesbehindthings 

Jemma & Emma run the joint Instagram account @storiesbehindthings. This account marries sustainability and style. They believe a cultural shift in fashion needs to take place which honours and celebrates the stories behind used clothing. Ethical, fashionable, and there’s even the occasional photo of food

2. Sarain Fox | @sarainfox

I first found out about Sarain through the VICELAND show she hosts called RISE (side note: 110% watch this show. It is fantastic and follows Sarain across American Indigenous communities where people are fighting to protect their homelands and rise up against colonization). Her Instagram follows her activist work and highlights the work of others fighting for Indigenous rights throughout North America. 

3. Fiona Morrison | @badgur1fifi

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fiona Morrison (@badgur1fifi) on

Fiona, or badgur1fifi, is the owner of one of my favourite jewelry brands: Wolf Circus. She’s a badass business woman who creates and runs her own company out of Vancouver. She takes aesthetically pleasing photos and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day of a business start up. 

4. Amanda Gorman | @amandacgorman 

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Feelin the light 💛#ootd 📸 @darkchocolatethunderr

A post shared by Amanda Gorman (@amandascgorman) on


Amanda is the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the US. She’s currently attending Harvard University (yes the Harvard University) and founded the One Pen One Page Project. This project is dedicating to elevating other youth voices and stories. She uses her voice to elevate others and engages in online activism on the regular. 

5. Mathilda Mennen | @mathildamennen

Mathilda is a junior doctor in Cape Town, South Africa. I particularly love seeing her posts pop up on my feed because she gives an inside look into a career which isn’t usually turned into engaging Instagram posts. She doesn’t sugar coat the day-to-night (I say this because of her seemingly never-ending on-call shifts) and shows the ups and downs of being a hardworking woman. 

So the bottom line is: don’t give up on Instagram. Instead try to reconsider what you want your Instagram to do, or not do, for you. Instagram could help you stay more #woke, inspire you to create, and show you the day-to-day of another entrepreneurs life – it’s up to you. 

Oh! ….And follow me on Instagram: @erinnepaisley 



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