Disclosure: I need to let you know that if you click on some links within the post, I may earn a few pennies. I may have also been compensated to write this article, gifted an item, or been hosted on a press trip. Please see My Travel Monkey's full Disclosure Policy for more details.

A picture paints a thousand words. Which is why social media platform Instagram has nearly 500 million daily users. That’s a staggering amount of people around the world taking shots and videos and letting their followers get a snapshot of their lives.

As a travel blogger, I love taking photos and putting them on Instagram. And while I don’t make any bones about being an amazing photographer, I think I do have a natural eye for composition – perhaps an intuitive skill that has been honed from years of snapping scenery around the world.

Centre stage…

I have also noticed only recently that it’s images of myself that actually get the most engagement which, at first, had me feeling uneasy. I’ve never liked being centre stage. However, I’ve learned to get over myself and am slowly learning what angles seem to work best for me.

So, there you have it. I’ve already admitted I know there are certain angles that are a key component to me posting a photograph… Which brings me neatly onto the whole concept of Instagram. With billions of ‘likes’ being clicked every day, there is something clearly evocative about Instagram and with this has heralded a new era of online advertising, influencers and bloggers who make a very good income from posting beautiful images. And good on them – we all have to make a living.

The Truth Behind My Instagram Feed | My Travel Monkey

Move on

What has made me feel alarmed recently is the vitriol directed at certain Instagrammers who go about their lives doing their ‘thing’ and being targeted with abusive comments and being bullied for the photos that they choose to share. I won’t go into specifics but believe me, this is a growing problem. My motto really is if you don’t like something then move on. After all, in life you’re not going to like or get on with everyone you meet or agree with their views or beliefs.

Instagram is a platform for everyone to be creative. And while I hope most people are savvy enough to realise that not everything on social media is ‘real-life’ – more a snapshot of moments in time – there are some who really take everything they see as verbatim.

If a blogger or Instagrammer earns pennies from using any form of social media, then like an advertorial or a traditional print publication, what they portray has to be easy on the eye – they are selling you a product, a lifestyle and providing inspiration. There will be tons of advertisers to keep happy. You don’t see Vogue throwing together some unedited fashion photos with models who haven’t been preened and buffed to perfection. You wouldn’t see a person using the toilet on a TV advert to sell loo roll. Could you imagine the complaints! There are also many people who use Instagram as a way to document normal daily life, too, a happy space for friends and family to be able to catch up on news.

I think the point I’m trying to make is there is no wrong or right way. I use Instagram to follow other travel bloggers because their images give me epic wanderlust. It’s also a great way for me to learn about how to take better photos, and how to pose, too.

The truth…

This brings me neatly on to the truth behind my Instagram feed and to drive home the fact that that one photo which has had hundreds of likes took around 50 takes, a lot of editing and my husband getting exasperated with me. It’s even made me realise that what I am wearing, how I stand, if the kids are in a good mood, if I have make-up on – all these factors contribute to my decision before posting a photo.

To really illustrate what I mean – I’m going to show you… This photo was taken back in Zakynthos – and Peanut isn’t one for sitting still…

Rather than bore you with the many photos to labour home my point – you can see the others below which aren’t edited, cropped and the ones I didn’t like because I think I look a bit strange.

The Truth Behind My Instagram Feed | My Travel Monkey

My Instagram is the window to my blog – so it’s only natural for me to want to choose the photos that I think best represents me. It’s often the scenic shots or the photos of the children that are quick to be uploaded. But when it’s a photo of myself, I am highly critical. Which is why they are not a huge amount of them.

And while I don’t use Instagram to get validation through likes, I can see how obsessive it can be for people who feel they have to live up to expectations of portraying a certain lifestyle.

It’s always best I find to take everything with a pinch of salt and as we all know, life isn’t perfect. A picture does paint a thousand words, and a lot of them are superfluous. And something I always remind myself to do it to enjoy the moment while I am living it. It may be my job now, but there are lots of moments I don’t choose to share. And lots of special times that are seen through my eyes rather than the lens of a camera.

So next time you go on someone’s Instagram profile, just remember that the image you see may be Insta Fabulous, but there may have been a lot going on behind-the-scenes. That some of these gorgeous influencers may have self-esteem issues or have taken 200 photos to get the one perfect shot, and that not everything is as it seems.

Social media has changed the face of the earth – it makes us more susceptible to scrutiny if we choose to put ourselves in the public domain. I’ve often followed some profiles and felt a twinge of jealousy – why can’t my house look that beautiful; why don’t I have the figure to carry off that dress – but those are my insecurities. And I always have to remind myself that people often only choose to show the best bits and that a lot of Instagram is contrived.

Being kinder is the new cool and if you see a photo that turns you green with envy or makes you feel inadequate, then let’s make a pact to scroll on. We’ll all feel much better for it…