My mental health can’t handle another social media vacation post so I’m tuning out.
Ordinarily, if someone I follow on Instagram is sharing minute-by-minute posts of their sun-soaked vacation spot, I love it. Whether I use it as travel inspiration or just a quick glimpse into a foreign land, I welcome any opportunity to live vicariously through others.
I mean, who doesn’t want to see Hawaii from the comfort of their own couch?
But this year I’ve been using the unfollow button more frequently than the ‘like’ button. After a year marked by so much devastation, I’m running out of patience for people who can’t take Covid restrictions seriously.
Kim Kardashian made my hit list back in October 2020 when she posted about flying her friends out to a private island for her 40th birthday bash to “pretend things were normal”. I wondered how she could even pretend this was ever normal, hit unfollow, and went back to worrying if I would afford next month’s rent.
But this marked a change in the social media content I’d been seeing for most of the year, even within my circle of friends.
Many took Thanksgiving vacations and Winter road trips. Parties became less socially-distanced and more crowded. Friends who hadn’t seen each other in months were suddenly flying between states for reunions.
The same influencers who spent most of the early months of the pandemic telling us to stay home, wear masks, and socially-distance are now treating Tulum like America’s 51st state.
All the while, Covid cases continued to rise and death tolls soared. Most recently, we passed the harrowing 400,000 death mark — and more than 100K have died in just the past five weeks.
I wondered how many of Kim Kardashian’s 200 million followers felt the impact of these rising numbers. Or how many of them decided to take a vacation of their own thanks to her post.
Personally, I did not feel offended by the obvious selfishness these people demonstrated (although that is another great point). I more felt offended by the way a complete stranger’s actions impacted the way I view my life.
The solidarity and “we’re all in this together” mentality that I found a vague comfort in back in March quickly faded away.
Already I’ve been struggling with how stagnant my life feels. I am isolated from friends and family. I don’t need a stranger’s vacation photo to remind me that my “normal” is so far from reach.
Charli D’Amelio and other TikTok stars were caught by fans taking a vacation in the .
In some ways, I admired them for the secrecy. If their job is to influence, at least they weren’t encouraging followers to go on similar trips.
But the reaction online reveals how these pandemic vacations bring out the worst in people on all sides.
People allow their frustration to get the better of them. All of a sudden millions of followers are attacking a 16-year-old for going on a vacation. Hate comments lead to frustration and sadness from everyone. It doesn’t help anyone.
Unfollowing, however, would take away the power these kinds of pandemic posts have over your reactions.
Just like these influencers have no idea how their actions impact my life, I have no idea what is going on in theirs. So it’s best we go our separate ways with a simple “unfollow,” for both of our sakes.
I have no interest in joining the masses of online abuse these influencers receive. I have no desire to be a “hater”. So I’m unfollowing — for self-preservation above anything else.
One of the beauties — and curses — of social media is that you decide what to pay attention to and what to ignore. These kinds of posts can only affect my mental health if I allow them to.
I’m carefully letting the Instagram algorithm know that in my echo chamber there are no vacations and no parties. There are only masks, socially-distant hangouts, and positive vibes.