INSTAGRAM: REMEMBERING OURSELVES
Let’s make an experiment. Go to the app store on your mobile and check which are the top ten free apps. You’ll find YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. I can go further and tell you that probably YouTube is within the top 5.
A couple of months ago I could assure you that Facebook was the first social media network on that chart. Today, that place has been taken by Instagram.
With more than 500 million active users Instagram has learned to reinvented itself through new features like Instagram Live and Stories (but we all can agree that Stories is just a copy from the Snapchat world).
But why is so popular among teenagers (ages 13–17) and young adults (ages 18–29) from all over the world? Why is so attractive for this audience?
I can take the more technical side of the app and say that it is mainly because it’s a friendly app to use when you’re on the go. It has this incredible mobile functionality that allows you edit images you take and then post them in just a few seconds, and also you can have access to new content through an infinite scroll to search. It’s simple and easy to use.
But I personally think that its importance is because appeals to the visual nature of the human being. Is not just because we know people prefer to gather and interpret information through sight but also, as Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman said, is because people now experiences the present as an anticipated memory.
The “Instagram Generation” now believes that every present moment needs to be experienced as something that will be reflected upon later. And we all have the tools to design what that later moment is going to feel like.
It’s like living in two realities at the same time. We know that this moment, the present, is going to be gone in the blink of an eye, and all you’re going to have left is that filtered photo/video. It’s what Daniel Kahneman use to refer to as how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently: how being happy in your life and being happy about your life, are two very different concepts.
That is the core, the essence, of Instagram. It’s about how you deal with the fact that every moment passes. How you choose to remember this moment, your story.
We all become artists and creators on Instagram and the features, photo, video, live and stories, are the fundamental pieces to construct the puzzle of our life, of this narrative and creation. All the pieces are reminders of the importance of being aware of the present and know that in a second it will be the past. Of being aware that you see my story in this right moment or within 24 hours, or just are going to miss a piece of my life.
Don’t underestimate the audience. There is always a reason for their behavior. There is always a reason of humanity in their behavior.
As filmmakers, we need to understand that even if we are talking about technology and digital worlds, humanity always wins.
I will leave you with a statistic: Instagram images with faces get 38% more likes. Think about that.