So why do I use Instagram? An interesting question that I didn’t really think too much about until someone posted it in their Story one day. Of course Instagram is an important platform for businesses and for self-promotion and in many instances for self love/obsession. But it’s also a great learning tool, a rich source of ideas and information and without a doubt a brilliant place to come to for inspiration, for escapism and even for romance! Yes, I already know of one lovely couple who met through their love of photography on Instagram. I’ve also discovered several cool blogs via Insta and made a few cool connections too.
For me it all began with a ‘why not, it might be fun’ kind of attitude. By this stage I was seriously considering quitting Facebook after the slightly confronting realisation that I actually had very little in common with my ‘friends’ - and as odd as that may sound, I think it was a significant discovery because it hugely affected how little or how much we interacted with each other. I also learned that many of my ‘friends’ were just FB voyeurs - preferring to look rather than take the time to comment or like.
But I also woke up to the fact that leaving comments or likes simply out of politeness or kindness was a little bit fake too and once I noticed I started doing this more and more frequently it all started to morph into a chore. I also got tired of seeing the sometimes carefully manufactured glimpses of people’s lives, their social calendars and all sorts of other things that I often had little interest in. I somehow felt burdened and overwhelmed by all the extra social stimulation and information in my feed everyday. But mostly, I was disappointed in the low level of interaction and even more so in the lack of postings. It’s quite boring to be friends with someone who doesn’t bother putting in any effort.
And just like that I discovered that Instagram was much more suited to me. It’s an interesting personal project without being too ‘personal.’ It isn’t so much about what I’m doing, who I’m with and what I look like. In fact my followers are mostly strangers from all around the world and I actually only follow a handful of people I know in person, the rest I’ve all been drawn to because of their creativity, their wit, their talents, their skills, their aesthetics, their style, their ability to show me things I don’t see and because they take me to places I don’t go. For me it isn’t about who you are but rather how you see and capture the world.
It’s a social platform that I can tailor to my personal interests and to my very own taste. Instagram has also allowed me to become more selective about who I choose to follow - after all, it’s my time and I should spend it looking at images that delight me. And yes, I have unfollowed many people and will continue to do so if for some reason their gallery loses appeal or if they stop posting. It’s simply part of the process of filtering out what you like and don’t like. It’s a freeing experience, a no strings attached type of arrangement.
I love that I can choose the type of content that appears in my feed everyday - cool stuff that stimulates my senses. And although initially it took a bit of time to gather followers and to find people you want to follow, I’ve found it’s been totally worth it. It’s a purely indulgent visual feast! It’s entertaining and at times thought provoking, funny and even enlightening. Sometimes I read brilliant captions or see images that take my breath away. And once you do find your interests, your niche and your genres - from the infinite selection and supply out there - then you can sit back and lose yourself whenever you’re in the mood.
My interests are fairly broad but mostly pertain to photography, paintings, interiors and architecture, animals and nature and I have a special spot for people who notice little details and capture a point in time that can never be repeated again. And by this I mean I gravitate towards images of fleeting moments, beautiful light, cool shadows and a composition that’s just right. I appreciate the more technical style of photography too, like what Mr Fritz does (and me occasionally), and many other photographers I follow. I love that people go out of their way to create an image that is an expression of who they are and they invest the time to really look and notice, compose and finally to create. I marvel at the beautiful paintings artists post, the cool expressions snapped by street photographers and well thought out design elements in interiors.
I also enjoy the comments and messages people send me. Sometimes it’s a question, or a simple recognition or connection to something I’ve posted. Occasionally I get a note of admiration from a man - which is of course is a bit flattering but also quite amusing. And when someone creepy or inappropriate turns up, it’s easy, you just block them.
What I don’t have much interest in is the streams of self-obsessed people who do pop up on my explore page, who only have their bodies and faces to show off. As much as I can admire a perfect bum in a G-string, it does become a bit tedious and same-same after a while. I also have little patients for oversaturated images and weird angles and of course Insta sluts who offer all sorts of services. But perhaps my least favourite type of Intagrammer is the desperate one, the one that announces a threat in their bio, ‘don’t follow to unfollow,’ seriously? WTF? If you can’t handle being unfollowed then Insta isn’t for you. This is after all a source of entertainment and information and not a lifelong commitment. I get unfollowed all the time and it’s fine. I don’t want anyone to follow me if they aren’t really interested in my work. But this is why Instagram is so great! We simply don’t have follow anyone who doesn’t interest us.
I get to design my very own gallery and share it with people who on some level connect with and appreciate my personal aesthetic sensibility and I with theirs - it’s a truly satisfying and fun experience for a visual beast like me.