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06.08.2017- Conversation Corner: Instagram or Instasham?

If you look back at the first image which you posted on Instagram and compare it to your most recent upload, the chances are they are probably a world (and a couple of fancy filters) away from each other. Scrolling back through my profile, there’s been a definite shift away from selfies, as well as a saddening dirth of sunset shots since I first downloaded the app in 2012. Much as there’s been a change in what I tend to post on Instagram, so too has the platform shifted from being a fun, spur of the moment sharing space to something which is dominated by monetisation, ads and sponsored content. Whilst much of this is down to that entirely perplexing (and constantly changing) algorithm, for me it also reflects a seemingly endless fixation with the modern cult of the aesthetic- very often at the expense of genuine, spontaneous posting- and with a sometimes coldly competitive aspect which you can’t help but feel is becoming the norm rather than the exception. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a big fan (and active user!) of the platform. Whilst I definitely don’t post as much as I used to (full-time job probz), it’s still a space which I enjoy dipping in and out of- especially now that Instagram Stories offers more of an ‘in the moment’ feel. Having said that, it’s definitely a platform which has more than its fair share of frustrations too- many of which have become all too apparent in light of a slew of Photoshopping sagas and follow-bot brouhahas over recent months. In short, the authenticity which made the platform so much fun and so accessible in the first place has seemingly all but disappeared, replaced with shot after shot of the same ‘Instagrammable AF’ dinner plate or a selection of ‘candid’ snaps which appear far too perfect to have been captured in five seconds flat. 

For me, one of the most refreshing things about blogging when I started posting back on these pages in 2009 was the sense of community which it cultivated, as well as it being a really refreshing change from more mainstream media outlets. There was something wonderfully endearing about those outfit snaps taken with your camera precariously balanced on a shelf or pile of books in your bedroom, being able to create your own content and finding a voice online. I'm beyond lucky that blogging has introduced me to some truly amazing people who will be friends for life, as well as enabling me to enjoy some fantastic experiences- many of which I'd never have even imagined I'd ever have had the chance to participate in. That sense of fun is something which, to begin with at least, crossed over into social media and onto Instagram, but now- very often from the outside looking in- the landscape has shifted so much, often at the expense of real spontaneity and sincerity. Needless to say, there's a huge difference between editing your images on the go and proactively Photoshopping them- post-production in the extreme which feels so at odds with the founding ethos of these little online communities which were built upon being so spur of the moment and sparky, not post-produced and pre-planned. 

I suppose what I'm trying to get at here is the fact that the enormous shift which has unfolded across blogging and social media in recent years doesn't always feel like it's necessarily been a shift for the better. Yes, I still love posting, I adore writing and snapping my own images. I love reading what other people have to say, and, when I have a spare five minutes I always try and comment on the posts which I've enjoyed across as many platforms as possible. I guess the thing which I find most jarring is how disingenuous some things have spiralled towards becoming- and the message which that sends out too, particularly to a younger generation which is so switched on to social media, obsessed with the perfect grid and fixated on followers. Authenticity and uniqueness are what so many of these platforms were built upon in the first place- so let's not airbrush them  away completely. 

Let me know what you think with a comment. 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)


  1. I still love Instagram but it's not really...instant anymore. My 2012 posts were a lot more random - now I'm sometimes too concerned with complying with a certain aesthetic to post something which I find amusing. My favourite accounts are ones which retain authenticity despite it being a heavily curated platform. x

  2. Preach girl! Instagram is such a pain in the ass, I totally get that we want our images to look nice and inherently there is nothing wrong with that but I hate how it's become so set up, so polished, and so forced. It's lot it's fun. It's just an advertising platform now instead of an 'off the cuff' snippet into someone's day. I much preferred the platform when it wasn't just another outlet of a blog. But now it's exactly that, an advertising space.


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