Instagram used to be cool

Categories: Life and Snapshots.



Instagram at the beginning

I am a mom. When I opened my Instagram account in 2012 my daughter was still in Elementary school. After I played around with my first post I thought, whoah! It was so cool, one of a kind. At that time sharing photos with those cool filters was still something new. I got addicted quickly. The joy of posting on Instagram was more about self-expression through shooting an object that really MATTERS, and most importantly it was shot either close up or at a distance but should be ‘correctly’ framed, and then polished it with filters to create an artistic photo in a square format. How is it not cool?

A platform for self-expression

Posting photos on Instagram were not about sharing a moment like the way I do on Facebook. The sense of sharing on Instagram is more about the object, not the subject. It is about the milkshake in a funny glass not ‘What I drink today’, or about the building rather than ‘Where I spent my holiday’. There wasn’t any intention of me trying to make people think about me (eating, drinking, or doing something).

Instagram for my understanding at the time was about SELFISHNESS – about what I felt, not what others felt. If I felt the photo was pretty good, then I posted it. I didn’t care about what people might think of it. It didn’t even matter my followers will like it or not, understood or not. And the caption? Brief, simple, and catchy. That’s it. It was all about own SATISFACTION.

Of course, all of those ‘attitude’ on how to post on Instagram did not come from me. I was just a copycat. I learned the nature of Instagram from other users whom I followed. The way they expressed themselves had inspired me. And I joined the circle – the ‘Instagram idealistic users’ (what I call it).

Finally other than Facebook

The main reason why I love(d) Instagram because Instagram was different than Facebook. Facebook in many ways makes you feel vulnerable because the nature of Facebook is about ‘friendship’. The feeling that you are committed to your ‘friends’ makes you hopelessly taking your friend’s judgment into consideration. I know, not everyone is like that but I am pretty sure there are many out there who has the same thought as me. Before you click ‘post’ you think: ‘Is it politically correct?’ ‘Is it offensive?’ ‘Do I look too fat in this photos?’ e.t.c. On Instagram, you don’t have any obligation to engage with your followers (hence the name, ‘followers’ not ‘friends’). Instagram is (or in my case ‘was’) like a free path for everyone. You passed it and disappeared. It doesn’t really matter you left a trace or not. Instagram was like a ‘canvas’ where I had a freedom to express myself on it. Here, I can find like-minded people to follow and be followed, without any obligation to engage. If I want to engage with people I go on Facebook, if I want to express myself or getting inspired I go on Instagram.

Its nature has changed

But from my observation lately, the Instagram’s nature has changed dramatically. Or maybe my arrogance has given me an illusion about Instagram’s unwritten rules of how people should post a photo; thinking Instagram should exclusively belong to people who want to express themselves artistically. Until now I didn’t realise I was completely wrong. Just because I follow and be followed by like-minded people it doesn’t mean all posts on Instagram should have a similar characteristic. There are no rules. After all, it is another social media platform – free and for everyone. So, apparently I have been living under the rock, assuming it is a ‘crime’ against ‘Instagram rules’ to post 5-collage photos on a mini square frame with busy decoration of emoji stickers and phrases on top in bold font. For God sake I should not scream: ‘What the heck is she trying to show? Random shapes of uncoordinated colours sliced in 5 segments?” Who the hell I am complaining about how people shoulg post their photos? Of course, people are entitled to post anything in a way they want it.

Did moms and dads drive the kids away from Instagram?

And since more and more people now shifting their social media activities from Facebook to Instagram, naturally I see more and more Instagram photos with ‘Facebook-style’. Many no longer writing a mundane status on Facebook like: “What to cook today?” but instead posting a photo of a home-made dish on Instagram with a caption: ‘Dinner tonight’. It doesn’t matter the photo is blurry in a non-artistic way, people still have every right to post it. If now Instagram has become another platform for moms and dads updates, so be it.

The other day I was involved in a conversation with some teenagers. We were talking about Tumblr. My daughter’s friends surprise as I told them I was on Tumblr since couple years ago, long before they knew how to spell it correctly. A girl who is a Cosplayer and has almost three thousands followers on her Instagram account asked me with a curious expression:

“What do you post on Tumblr?”

But before I could answer, my daughter answered her friend with a defensive voice:

“No no, she posts only links to her craft-making blog.”

I could see how relieved their faces! That made me curious:

“What’s wrong a mom being on Tumblr, anyway?” I asked.

“Oh please! Moms and dads already invaded Facebook long time ago, that’s why we left. We loved Instagram and you guys invaded it as well. Please leave Tumblr alone!”

And they laughed.

Yup, I understand why they left Instagram.