For around 8 years or so I have had an Instagram account, not unlike a lot of other people. I mostly use it for business, to show off what I do. I use it to connect with people and also to see what others are doing. I sometimes post a photo of someone or something I think is lovely, namely a dog, offspring, or significant other, maybe even a selfie bahaha! Even when I’m not posting, I will always have an oul scroll. I love the visual nature of the platform. Photo first and as much or as little as you want to read.
One of my favourite things about Insta is how accessible it makes art. I have found new artists, people who are both in my locale and further afield in the world who I might not have otherwise encountered before Instagram.
Since joining I have a new found admiration for a tonnes of stuff. Ariel acrobatics is a new-found joy to behold. Seeing what the human body can do (elegantly) while suspended in mid air blows my mind. Hey, I might even give it a go one day but for now it’s yoga, for beginners (again isn’t it amazing what people can do with their bodies?). I have discovered new styles of tattoo art that I had never seen before. I can ogle no end of classic cars. World standard architecture is now available at a press and gemstones too. All without so much as a subscription fee to any of the relevant magazines. It’s a visual treat for sure and has brought a wider array of art to a much larger audience. It wasn’t so long ago that if you couldn’t travel to a museum or gallery, a black and white print in a book from your local library would have to suffice.
Could it all be too much though? Are our eyes becoming blind to great work due to over exposure? Do we risk scrolling straight past the next Picasso or Frank Lloyd Wright? Is a magnificent feat of engineering or master piece on canvas only vaguely impressive when scrolling on our 5” x 4” screen? Are we Insta-immune to greatness?
Alternatively, is the opportunity to see so much more, only inspiring us to strive harder and faster than ever before, to create something of equal or more brilliance? Are the likes of Instagram and YouTube actually doing a similar job to that of psychedelics in the 1960s, feeding our conscience with alternative ideas? Taking the comparison a wee bit too far p’aps?
Some will say that such social media only fuels copyright infringement. I know of cases where big industry has unashamedly stolen the design concepts of small manufacturers without so much as a credit. It happens, and ideas are reused. I do think though that for the most part Instagram serves as an amazing tool and recourse for creative people and art lovers the world over.
Some Insta days are for checking out travel writers in sunnier climes, wondering how many holidays some non travel writers can fit into a year, or drooling over dishes by our favourite celeb chefs. Others are spent checking out new techniques and making more meaningful connections. Whatever you think of Instagram I think it’s fair to say we have seen a visual revolution.
What are your opinions about Instagram? Check out my own instagram and also take a look at some of my favourite profiles. It’s a mixed bag but they all inspire me in some way. I’m not going to explain each one here but click away yourself. Feck, you may even want to commission someone, take a class or join a club.
I like the thrust of your post Tiff, and the questions it raises. Strangely, at the minute, I’m carrying out some mini research of my own on the effects of social media, on me mostly, but also more broadly.
Instagram is my favourite of all platforms, well, the lesser of all evils, if I’m honest. I feel less exposed there, as if there’s a distance between me and whoever is seeing my posts and although what I post is what I’ve created mostly, it says less about me than it would on, say, on FB. I don’t know why I feel this, it’s just how it is.
My account is mainly writings of mine, short snibbets to fit the platform and the concentration span of most ‘writer’s on there. I have very few followers and follow a similar amount. I sometimes throw in an odd photo, usually with some words of mine, observations etc. I have had work stolen, changed and posted again. There was nothing I could do. No more than any of us can with what we post. We have lost control of it. We may feel in our minds we own it still, but we don’t.
I’ve been aware of some changes to my feed lately. I have no idea what prompted these changes; missing friends posts, more ‘orders’ disguised as ‘suggestions’, less likes on my posts, etc, etc. So, it got me interested in the whole monster that is social media and its effects on us as humans. I reckon I’ll have a good overview of its causes and effects by June, so more on that anon.
There is no doubt social media has changed the world, and some of those changes have been good. I have been exposed to things I never would have been a few years ago. I follow some wonderful pages and enjoy living vicariously through these. On the other hand, we all know the accounts that frustrate us, the people who have our eye or our ear, that in real life, we would never spend a minute in their company. Yes, we can block, delete, unfollow, (these words alone depress me from a human perspective), but sometimes its the annoyance of them that we look for. All these anomalies are what fascinate me.
If your question is if social media is a good thing, I would say yes, but only if you are selling. If you’re asking if social media is a good thing for us as human beings, I would say no, without doubt.
There is a human cost I feel hasn’t yet been fully realised. I know I am a happier person when offline but so much of the information (much of it important to what we do) is only online now. How many interests of ours come with a ‘like us on Facebook’ demand. It’s almost impossible for me to submit work now without following on FB, Insta, Twitter. It’s depressing and there’s no going back.
I’m not sure we’ll ever fully understand the detrimental effects of being on a variety of platforms that purports to ‘give us opportunities, ‘connect us’, ‘make us more friends’, ‘bring us closer’, when in reality, isolates us and leaves us vulnerable to a robotic humanity that we as people are unable to comprehend.
Thanks for commenting Maeve. Whether its inherently good or bad in the overall scheme of things, I do believe Instagram gives people opportunities that they might not have had before social media, in the visual realm. Much the same way Facebook and Twitter have (in the past at least) given us a view into the political news world that was previously confined to TV and radio.
I agree that life is better off-line. Days with no social media are generally the best ones. Of all of them though Instagram is definitely my favourite too, I get what you mean, it does feel less invasive and I don’t know why that is.
I was listening to a pod cast recently that explained that the algorithm have changed due, apparently, to the amount of users. They explained that, because there are so many users you would never catch up on your feed if they were to appear chronologically . That makes sense if you follow a large amount of people but not if you don’t, but to be honest I don’t think I understood the explanation correctly.
Working from home, Instagram has revolutionised business for me. This is something I didn’t cover in the blog. There was a time when I could only send CD or printed press releases to printed publications and galleries. I was at the mercy (as most visual artists were) of the galleries and their commission fees before my work would even get before the public. Although these routes are still valid and sometimes necessary, they are not now the only option. I don’t know if this translates to the written word in the same way, I think writers have a harder time with copyright infringement. Having said that, social media is a very public record of time dating for all of us that I don’t think can be falsified.
I’m sure well be debating this still in 10 and 20 years time. I wonder will we be any more enlightened by then.