02549: Instagram Refraction

People generally have the impression that Instagram is a platform for very pretty photos. When taken to the extreme, a lot of people claim that our Instagram feed presents a narrow, seemingly perfect version of our lives that sets unrealistic expectations or something along those lines.

At times I get lucky and take some pretty good photos and I do feel good about that. I don't necessarily publish these photos or share all of them online. I just take them and file them away. There are literally thousands of images that capture different moments safely backed up to my Google Photos account. I hope the service never goes away because I wouldn't know how to deal with migrating them somewhere safe.

My Instagram feed is not the most perfect version of my life. It has been years since I've seriously considered using a filter for the images that I post and a lot of photos are more out of habit than design such as the selfies I post at the start of my walk to work or the #ElevatorPhotobooth posts I publish every time Tobie and I leave the Sietch together. It's certainly only a fraction of our shared lives captured in a photo feed, but necessarily representative of anything really.

When I get sponsored posts from people who are trying to be models or influencers or whatever and I end up facing some highly curated image that was taken with the aid of professional photography equipment or even a full production crew, I'm not quite sure what to think. As a person in the marketing industry, I understand the role they're trying to fulfill on an intellectual level. I also recognize that it's really not for me and I also don't feel any incentive to engage with or get to know such people for the most part. This may be a bit of an unfair assumption - a generalization of their character based on a visual fraction of their lives. But it's just how I feel.

I still have an Instagram account because it does provide a unique medium for visual sharing of moments of our lives. Tobie doesn't have one and I doubt he'll ever need to create an account either. There are some people I only know on Instagram and there are real-life friends and colleagues whom I've muted because I don't want to see the curated version of their lives that they've chosen to share based on a sampling of their feeds. Life's funny that way.

What do your photos say about you?