The Unbearable Lightness of Being Yourself on Social Media

Illustration by Karlssonwilker Inc

Excerpt from this article on Kottke, which was inspired by this article in the New York Times:

I wonder if Snapchat’s intimacy is entirely due to the ephemerality and lack of a “fave-based economy”. Blogs, Flickr, Twitter, Vine, and Instagram all started off as places to be yourself, but as they became more mainstream and their communities developed behavioral norms, the output became more crafted and refined. Users flooded in and optimized for what worked best on each platform. Blogs became more newsy and less personal, Flickr shifted toward professional-style photography, Vine got funnier, and Twitter’s users turned toward carefully crafted cultural commentary and link sharing.

Now, as Wortham notes, Instagram is largely a place to put your heavily curated best foot forward. But scroll back through time on anyone’s Instagram and the photos get more personal and in-the-moment. Even Alice Gao’s immaculately crafted feed gets causal if you go back far enough.

…It’ll be interesting to see if [Snapchat] can keep its be-yourself vibe or if users tending toward carefully constructing their output is just something that happens as a platform matures.

 

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