DEBT CAUSED BY THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA HAS NEVER BEEN SO BIG A PROBLEM AS IT HAS TODAY
Instagram? Whilst this may sound controversial, I believe you should not let Instagram influence you. Now sure, we all see one or two things on our favourite IG accounts that we end up buying, (guilty), and I can see that you guys love what you see even right here on SITC and go ahead and purchase. But I’m hoping that rather than it being obsessive shopping habits from a handful of individuals, that’s it’s more a thin spread across my readership. Let’s be honest, when you reach peak addiction to your favourite IG accounts, the fun stops.
Instagram: Inspiration Here & There
Sure you may see posts on some of the best discount codes (like here) but like many other bloggers, my site and social is designed to be used as inspiration here and there. Not, as I hope the case isn’t, used every single which way to make you buy! buy! buy! We bloggers are not multimillionaires and most of what you see is gifted (but you get paid cash for your job).
I won’t be driving a Ferrari 812 GTS any time soon so why would I buy all of the merchandise in the hope that people will think I can actually afford one? The same should go for IG lifestyle…
This year, getting into debt to live an ‘insta-worthy’ lifestyle is a real problem. It’s on the increase too. Dramatically. Reports have shown that it’s not only among teens but actually more prevalent for those in their 30’s and 40’s. The IG influence is higher (and also more concerning) among those with larger disposable income. People ready to spend big on holidays, designer purchases, interiors, even surgery. The worrying part is, half of the time it’s put on credit cards. It’s particularly damaging for students but let us not forget new mums who feel they should be keeping up with those big mummy bloggers with 700k+ followers.
Brands are equally to blame with a slew of new, fresh businesses coming through every day. They’re ready to do anything it takes to just make you buy their stuff. Responsibility seems to have gone out of the window as brands elbow each other in the face to get their brand and their message in front of you. Even ASOS is updated daily with hundreds and hundreds of “New In” items. Excessive consumerism at its finest.
Isn’t it ironic that a platform built for instant, short snappy ‘grams’, posts that are supposed to be shot in real time, has become a platform to flaunt wealth, association and excess? These days it’s all races to gain more followers or increase in popularity, in-depth captions about how wonderful life is (no really it is that wonderful pinky promise)…
It hinders people’s long term goals. Owning a house? Traveling? Affording everyday essentials? I can’t begin to tell you the amount of people I know with 3 or more £1000+ designer handbags but have zero in savings. Ask yourself truthfully, how much have you spent this month because of the pressure to look good on social media? Or because you’ve FOMO or you’re competing with your friends? Or because everyone online seems to have stuff so you deserve a treat right? You’re worth it, yes? Do you feel obliged to go out and buy the newest pair of Topshop jeans because your old style aren’t that relevant on social media anymore?
People Are Richer Than You (& They’re Sorry Not Sorry)
Brands need to make sales. Businesses need to create a community of like minded individuals. Some people have more money than you. This is like the sun shining everyday and setting at night; some things never change! Next time you consider buying something:
- Ask yourself, has this person been given it for free? As a blogger, I can tell you that chances are, we have. That’s ok though, you probably get paid in actual cash instead for your work. Right? Do you post pictures of your salary each month? No (if you do, then you’re a weirdo). We’re given it in exchange to promote to you (hashtag gifted).
- Are you buying this to look like you are ‘nailing life’? Albeit confined to the space of a tiny thumbnail image on a digital platform? Or do you really need this for multiple wears throughout the season?
- Consider 5 things you could put the money towards instead. A holiday? Credit card debt? Sounds boring but do you really still want to be paying off that new Gucci handbag in 6 years time? When you no longer get interest free credit?
- Will you still be as excited to own the item when it’s arrived at home, unboxed, the packaging’s in the bin and it’s laying on your bed? Or will you need to get your next ‘fix’ by repeating a purchase?
If you’re struggling with debt management, read here for where to seek help.
*Watch (Rotary), hair and makeup all gifted. Everything else, including the time taken to write this post, create and research this post, recruit a photographer for this post and pay her… all bought myself.
*Words by Lauren Silvester, Photography by Zoe Griffin.