Thoughts on Instagram
When Instagram launched I was an Android user who was slightly jealous of there being yet another app that was only for iPhones. Once it was available for Android I immediately got the app and was excited to use what some people had described as “Tumblr for just pictures.” My early posts were crappy and highly filtered which I cringe at now on the random occasions I scroll through all of my posts. I personally take aesthetic photos but I try to convey in life as realistically as possible on Instagram but a google search will show various pieces on how many people are not being authentic on the platform.
Instagram has become a place where a person can fabricate a few things things the popular being lifestyle and food choices. There has been a growing trend of celebrities or influencers who are advertising products and having photoshoot just to post pictures in their feed. Many people’s accounts are a bit of a social resume that shows how cool or interesting their lives are. “Excellences and Perfections” is a performance art piece where Argentinian artist Amalia Ulman, shared a fake lavish lifestyle on her Instagram that amassed 90k followers.
“Everything was scripted,” Ulman told The Telegraph. “I spent a month researching the whole thing. There was a beginning, a climax and an end. I dyed my hair. I changed my wardrobe. I was acting: it wasn’t me.”
Due to celebrities and influencers’ highly crafted envy-evoking posts the pressure for regular users to present idealized images of themselves has increased. To combat that some younger millennials have created finstagrams. A finstagram is short for fake instagram and it's a private account with a low amount of followers where the user posts images that wouldn’t be posted on their main account.
“You post things you wouldn’t want people other than your friends to see, like unattractive pictures, random stories about your day and drunk pictures from parties,” Amy Wesson told the New York Times.
At the start of orientation for the Social Journalism program our director Carrie Brown tasked us with a 365 project to post a photo a day on Instagram with the hashtag #cunysj16 (Check out the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to catch photos from myself and my classmates.) Some have chosen themes for their photo a day and others just take random shots but my goal was to have a somewhat cohesive style for my project 365. Speaking with some of classmates about their hesitance towards the project I realized the photos we are posting are building our brands. They similar to the influencers and celebrities on Instagram want to curate and manage their brand in a certain way and the photo project doesn’t fit into that.
The guest speaker for my Social Media Tools course, Ryan Fitzgibbons, founder of Hello Mr, the magazine for men who date men gave us some tips about using Instagram to promote and cultivate brands on Instagram. My major takeaways from his presentation were to be authentic, transparent, to be myself, engaging my followers, and having a clear point of view.