SPOILER ALERT: social media channels make people miserable.
HELLO! Yes - we know. The pack-like justice on Twitter, the silent bullying on Snapchat, the relentless trolling on Facebook - this is stuff we know. I mean, even my eyebrow technician (oh yes really folks, this is 2018 don't you know) and I were discussing this very thing during a rather painful threading session recently ("if you like it , pop it on Twitter, #benefitbrows, there's a love").
I even think we all know, somewhere not so deep inside us, that Instagram exists to instill envy, lust and greed (it's big on its 7-sins is Instagram). Why else would Instagrammers carefully pose, style, shade and photoshop each picture within an inch of its life? There is a whole YouTube programme dedicated to this phenomenon, Feed Famous - finding the "next Instagram modelling superstar" - a 30 minute dive into how to present your best self and WIN. Yes. Really.
It's why global brands have jumped on the Instawaggon - making the most of the envy-instilling fix so many of us crave on a daily basis in order to sell more products (a topic which has been covered by my colleagues way better than me already - check out this recent post by Belinda Hallworth about making the most out of Instagram).
It was, I guess, only so long until our need to fixate on the perfection of others turned into a fixation on what we ourselves lack, and therefore only so long until our collective mental health started to take a hit. Instagram is glamour candy, if we have too much we will be sick.
For me, as all too often in our brave new world of Fake News, it boils down to truth. If we believe what we see on Instagram (or what the trolls tell us on Facebook) is true, then it will inevitably bring us down. Equally if more people, more brands, could start painting a more truthful version of themselves then it might be easier to stomach.
I am a mother of two daughters aged 12 and 14. Flippant though I may be, this is front line stuff for me. They already edit and curate their photo streams to present their very best selves. They delete images I share. They compare themselves to the wider stream. And they feel they must match up.
That is not OK. And it is not the preserve of teenage girls - it is all too pernicious. Truth, and authenticity must be prized more highly than greed and envy if we are to continue to thrive, and brands have a chance to take the moral high-ground in leading this revolution.
What do we want? Brands to be real! When do we want it? Now!
It is a curious juxtaposition that in the same week this article was posted, the news that George Orwell's body of work - the epitome of truth telling - has been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. An eternal preservation, and recognition of his part in shaping humanity by focusing on truth.
What would Orwell think of the Newspeak of social media I wonder? I doubt he would be clapping his hands, or even his 'gram.
But, for a growing number of users – and mental health experts – the very positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem. The site encourages its users to present an upbeat, attractive image that others may find at best misleading and at worse harmful. If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect – except you.