Editors Note: Is a photo worth it?

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This past summer, my friends and I went to a sunflower farm called Boggle Seeds located approximately 40 minutes away from Waterloo.

The farm had 74 acres of sunflowers the farm’s website iterated to interested visitors that the crop only blooms for approximately two weeks, making the farm a pretty cool summer day trip for those within its proximity.

Upon arriving at the farm, it was clear that the sunflowers were the best backdrop to getting that perfect photo for Instagram — and in accordance, almost every single person at the farm was doing just that.

We saw people who were having photo shoots, taking professional photos with their kids, and of course, posing amongst the flowers with friends.

I noticed people with tripods for their professional cameras, people who brought ladders and stools just to get the perfect angle for their shot.

It was like seeing the behind-the-scenes of hundreds of Instagram accounts. And, amongst the hundreds of people, there was almost no one simply enjoying the sunflowers.

It’s crazy to me that we’re so focused on creating the perfect persona for ourselves online that we often forget about our actions in real life say so much more about us than the pictures we post.

The day after we visited the farm, it got shut down due to overcrowding. Thousands of visitors were parking illegally on a busy highway, crossing in between cars, which caused the police to be called who proceeded to shut the farm down.

In an article in The Globe and Mail, the owners of the farm stated that they would be unlikely to open up their farm to the public anymore. The visitors that came to see their sunflowers had done damage to their crop and to their overall farm.

Now, I’m not here to tell anyone that we should be using social media less. I am just as guilty as everyone else at the sunflower farm who was looking for the perfect photo to post to my Instagram.

However, what I observed from this situation is that there are certain limits to which we should adhere when prioritizing getting just the right Instagram photo.

Amongst 74 acres of sunflowers, hundreds of people chose to put aside appreciating nature and the handwork that a family had put into growing a crop from which they earn the money they need to live from, all because of social media.

At the end of the day, all of us can agree that getting that Instagramable photo is far less important than respecting the livelihood of a family, or putting your life at risk by parking and crossing at unsafe times on a busy highway.

It’s crazy to me that we’re so focused on creating the perfect persona for ourselves online that we often forget about our actions in real life say so much more about us than the pictures we post.

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