The world is totally obsessed with Instagram, and I’m bored with it. I’m not bored of the app, what I’m bored with is the world’s obsession with it. It’s driving me up the fucking wall. Gone are the days of uploading every grainy photo you took at last night’s party with a dodgy border, that’s so 2012, we’re over that now.We barely had a moment to enjoy it in its infancy stages before it was conquered and exploited, monetised and manipulated into the influencer playground that it is today. For many people, the platform is now a full-time job and it must be taken seriously. For those making money on the site, or building a brand using Instagram as a tool, their pages are now well curated art-pieces that require time, effort and hard work.
Even for those that just use it recreationally, the time spent thinking about what goes into an Instagram post is longer than most people would readily like to admit to. Despite most my friends being pretty chilled people, I can’t pretend I haven’t noticed changes in their behaviour when Instagram is brought up. Teenagers are admitting to deleting posts if they fail to secure more than 100 likes. The texts I receive from people who need me to send them that photo from today so they can show their 400 followers that they looked fit at the weekend are not rare occurrences.
I’m not exempt from this. I wish I was. I can hear the voice in my mind calling me an idiot whenever I vocalise any Insta-related concern I might be having or post an insta story, but it doesn’t stop them from coming out. I have 2 accounts, a personal account and an art account. I use my art account more day-to-day purely just to document and post my work but it doesn’t stop me from feeling frustrated. I can’t get away from it, it’s not just a case of keeping the app closed, because to a certain extent Instagram is a job, or an extension of it at least.
What frustrates me the most and the one thing I can’t get away from, whether in my personal life or my work one, is the conversations. The constant conversations that start and end with ‘Instagram’. Friends of mine and people who are frantically looking for signal so that they can check to see ‘how their post is doing’ and people who take the fact that they have been unfollowed way too seriously. There are only so many selfies I need to see in a day. I don’t unfollow people, that’s not in my nature, but I don’t blame people for doing it, and nor should anyone. It’s not a personal attack and it’s not the world’s way of telling you that your blog is shit or that you are ugly and unloved, it is nothing but a number on a screen.
Assuming your Instagram account is not your business and it is purely personal people need to ask themselves; what is this hashtag going to achieve? More people will see my photos, more of them may like them. Maybe more will follow me. But then what? More likes, more followers?! Who gives a fuck? It doesn’t matter. It’s not fun. It’s not real. And if it’s not fun anymore then I really don’t see the point.
FERN O’ Carolan