I don’t spend much time on Facebook or Twitter, but it’s not because I’m “above” social media — I just happen to pour all of my social media obsession into Instagram. Yesterday, when my friend sent me an article called “You’re Using Instagram All Wrong” (um, I didn’t know there was a “right” and ”wrong” way to use an app for pretty pictures), I simply had to read it to know whether I was a “correct” Instagram user.
Well, apparently, I am a very, very bad Instagram user.
The writer, Jeffrey Kalmikoff, has a problem with the fact that his Instagram feed was “losing its consumption value.” His argument, which does make sense, is that his social media platforms had started to recycle themselves. If, for example, one of his online friends got an iced coffee, he’d see a tweet about it, a picture of it on Facebook, and then yet another picture of that coffee (this time with a Valencia filter) on Instagram. His feeling is that we should only follow our real-life friends on Facebook, where we can hear about their everyday lives, and then leave Instagram for the kind of entertaining, fresh stuff by “content creators” that are interesting to us. Oops, I totally follow my IRL friends on Instagram and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
So this Kalmikoff guy got fed up with all the “duplicative content” across all his socializing platforms, and decided to unfollow everyone on his Instagram and start fresh. This time, he would only follow Instagram users (most of whom he doesn’t know in real life) who posted creative, entertaining stuff that he liked. His friends’ updates on their everyday lives could stay on Facebook where they belonged. I suppose he makes a good point about the fact that we’re oversaturating, and on top of it, lots of us feel totally guilty for wanting to unfollow our real-life friends who post too much. I also think it’s a great idea to curate what you’re seeing on Instagram to make sure it inspires you. But doesn’t this all seem a little serious and strategic for a fun little app? Can’t we all just use it for whatever we want?
As far as the “duplicative content” thing, I’ve always felt like people treat Instagram as way more personal than Facebook, so they don’t post the same things on both places. To me, Instagram is all about seeing the more day-to-day sides of people that would never be shared on other parts of the web. For whatever reason, sharing too much on a site like Facebook makes me feel totally exposed, but Instagram feels like cozy little club with a much smaller group of followers where I can overshare to my heart’s content without feeling weird about it. There’s no logic behind this, but I’ve found that lots of other people feel the same way. Something about Instagram is just so intimate, it’s a place where I can see otherwise mundane little bits of my friends’ daily lives all dolled up with a cute filter. In fact, that’s my favorite thing about it – the way it makes the most everyday routines look like more exciting. Taking pictures of our lattes or our new manicure is silly and will always be silly, but that’s the point! It’s for connecting people through fun, not strategy.
So now this question has been driving me nuts for the past 24 hours — do you feel like Instagram is more personal than other forms of social media or is this just me? Everyone I’ve asked has felt the same way, but that’s only my narrow little pool of experience. What do you think?