It took me a while to get in to Instagram. I used to be a Twitter person when I was doing a lot of travelling because of how easy it would be to get a lot news quickly. But then Instagram became more interesting in its content.
However, there is a certain element to Instagram that has always annoyed me, and I’m annoyed myself about it annoying me as I fall in to the trap myself. Back in the early days, Instagram was supposed to be a forum for beautiful photography. As time has past, it’s a place for selfies, photos of yourself and more mundane things. That’s fine – people can use it for what they like (obviously within the terms of service) but it is moving to a more bona fide blogging platform to me.
Instagram has provided the world with a platform to become an “Influencer” that I never saw with Twitter or Facebook (or MySpace or anything else that came before that I’ve now forgotten about). Probably the only thing that can match it is YouTube, but that needs video rather than it just being useful. All Instagram needs is a still picture and, more often than not, it’s a selfie showing next to nothing but that person, which is what annoys me about selfies at the best of times. Showing off a haircut, an outfit – fine; posting a happy, smiley photo with no caption or one that reads, “had such a bad day” is just plain narcissistic.
The rise of the Influencer and other quests for followers has led to something that annoys me. I used to use Instagram’s “Likes” page to look for similar content to that which I liked. My thinking being was that if someone that I followed liked a post from, or followed another user, that would be “related content” which might be of interest to me.
Instagram, though, implemented a feature that allows people to like comments on their posts. This can be irritating because these likes can take up entire screens blocking content that I would like to see.
In some cases, the likes are to responses to questions, which I get. “What training are you doing today?” might be the post. “I’m doing a 50 mile bike ride and yoga”, might be the liked reply. It’s a form of engagement and encouragement replicating conversation on a platform that it isn’t designed for. However, in other cases, the likes don’t replicate a normal, real world interaction. Thanking a stranger for drawing attention to a photograph of you doesn’t happen.
A while ago I posted something on this blog that was prompted by someone on Instagram. When I post on here, a link gets sent off to Twitter. The person who prompted the post replied to the tweet, but the reply had absolutely nothing at all to do with my post and my site analytics suggests that she never even read the post. It was a generic cut and paste effort.
That and innocuous likes annoy me because they would appear to have nothing to do with the consumer and everything to do with the marketer.
Entire businesses are made of this, selling programs that like posts and comments on a schedule. Either that or loads of people I follow really don’t sleep.
That’s my petty hate, but over the last few weeks there have been some interesting stories about people who have found a degree of fame through social media.
Chloe Lattanzi, who is apparently the daughter of Olivia Newton-John, used to post, according to the Daily Mail, “trademark busty social media snaps, which often feature the star in heavy makeup”.
Chloe, who boasts almost 50,000 followers, then declared she ‘can’t take selfies anymore.’
She continued: ‘And when I look at my Instagram it’s like looking at a stranger. I have grown. I am free. Thank god.’
This comes shortly after users have been complaining about the front facing camera on the iPhone X because it is too good and making them feel self-conscious.
Im going to need all my friends to switch to Android, I am way too ugly for this new iPhone X camera.
— Ivan Escobar (@ivannotpablo) November 6, 2017
the iphone x camera makes me a little uncomfortable idk if i wanna see myself, or anyone else for that matter, that clearly
— 𝔩𝔦𝔩 𝔪𝔞𝔪𝔞 (@purexdevotion) November 6, 2017
But seriously the camera on the iPhone X makes me 100x more ugly.
— Trevor Velasco (@Tvelasco34) November 6, 2017
Towards the end of last month, The Guardian did an interview with 4 “Influencers” speaking about their use of Instagram. It’s an interesting video, albeit containing a lot of the content one would expect. Apart from the comment from Ama Peters who describes it as “an easy way of making money”, the people in question talk about the positive feedback they get from followers for being “an inspiration”, but will also say that what they post is not real life. One even has a personal Instagram account to share their “real life” with their real friends.
I follow people I wouldn’t ordinarily follow to pick up a little inspiration towards fitness goals (for example), but when social media starts becoming stressful and fake it’s very definitely blurring the lines with the part of mainstream media where fame is the only driver.
It’s a strange thing to explain. Inspiring people and making people feel better about themselves is no doubt a fantastically social thing to do. When that inspiration is based on a mere visual representation of what even Influencers themselves describe as not real, is that a source of inspiration that we want to be encouraging?
So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your headAh, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at nightYou live with straights who tell you, you was king
Jump when your momma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
And since you’re gone you’re just another dayAh, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at nightAh, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at nightA pretty face may last a year or two
But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do
The sound you make is muzak to my ears
You must have learned something in all those yearsAh, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at night