Instagram Your Leftovers: History Depends on It

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Today we have Instagram, overflowing with glamorous images created not by professional photographers but by home cooks in kitchens around the world. What an opportunity! With its vast reach and the technological savvy of its users, Instagram could go beyond mere glamour and open up a domestic world that has always been elusive. I’m talking about ordinary meals at home — the great unknown in the study of food.

Sure, we have agricultural statistics and marketing surveys; we have household records from 18th-century castles and charts showing the average consumption of Popsicles in the United States from 1953 to 1982. But there’s nothing to tell us what a schoolteacher in Connecticut served to her family on a Thursday in 1895. Or what she was thinking when she boiled the string beans for 45 minutes, put ketchup in the salad dressing and decided to try her neighbor’s recipe for rice pudding, the one with a little cinnamon.

Could Instagram capture today’s version of that story? Could it zero in on the third consecutive night of frozen tacos or the mug of milky Sanka that makes you feel like somebody’s grandfather but has become an unexpected nighttime addiction? Next time you eat a meal that’s certain to be forgettable, that’s the very moment to pull out your phone and hit “share.”

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Signs of the Times

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Who run the world? Collaborative filtering recommender algorithms. Also known as ‘Customers who bought this item also bought…’ suggestions. They’ve become ubiquitous in the online world, determining what we look at, buy and like…

Hopefully, you are now. Which was the point of putting these giant signs up in locations around New Zealand.

See also this video on BBC.

Icy, Sweet and Instagram-Ready

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That’s the concoction Rachel Lee, a student at Pratt Institute, was trying to capture last weekend before the summer evening turned dark. “I hope it doesn’t melt before I can eat it,” she said, turning the cup this way and that to find the best angle for Snapchat, and then a different one for Facebook. “But posting it is part of the point.”

Icy, pretty frozen treats from Asia — Thai ice cream rolls, Korean-style honey soft serve, Hong Kong egg waffle sundaes, Japanese parfaits, Chinese ice-cream-filled buns, Taiwanese bubble tea floats, and Filipino and Indonesian shaved ice — are popping up in more and more places in the United States, where they put the basic American scoop shop to shame.

This Instagram Account Made Influencer Money Posting Nothing But Free Stock Photos

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A post shared by Amanda Smith (@wanderingggirl) on

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Amanda Smith, known on Instagram as @wanderingggirl, has 31,000 followers. She’s posted a little over 40 times, sharing photos of her travels to beautiful locations around the world — kayaking in clear blue waters, peering out over the city of Paris, gazing onto the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. But Amanda has a secret. She doesn’t really exist.

Instead, the @wanderingggirl account was part of a months-long experiment by marketing firm Mediakix — they constructed two fake accounts and were able to turn a profit on both — to find out just how easy it is to become a fake influencer, and earn the sponsorship deals that come with being an “influencer” on Instagram. Turns out, it’s pretty easy. All you need is a couple hundred dollars in start-up cash and some decent photos. Mediakix CEO Evan Asano told Select All the firm came up with the idea last year, after noticing an Instagrammer they were planning to work with had doubled her following in just over a week. “I started to really look at it and start to wonder if she had just bought a ton of followers, which is really easy to do,” Asano said. “There’s really no way to grow that quickly in just a week-and-a-half.”

Enter @wanderingggirl and @calibeachgirl310, a.k.a. Alexa Rae, Mediakix’s second fake account. To create Rae’s account, Mediakix hired a model and shot photos on a beach in California. From there, Asano said they spent $750 buying followers and photo engagement — likes and comments — for the account. The firm only spent $300 on @wanderingggirl, and all the photos posted from that account were “free stock photos,” which anybody could get online.

Every App Should Steal Instagram’s Latest Feature

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We all have those moments we’d like to forget. Or, more accurately, we all have those moments we’d like everyone else to forget. And for these situations, Instagram is debuting its best new feature since the Hudson filter: the option to archive posts, rather than simply delete them. Delivered in an update rolling out this week, the new feature lets you go to any old image, tap into the options, and hit “archive.” The post will go into a private gallery. And if you ever want to return it to your feed, there’s a button to unarchive it, too.

I’d like to see every social media service borrow the idea. Because it’s a stupidly perfect solution to a huge problem: that while we grow into ever-more realized versions of ourselves every day, we’re nonetheless trailed by permanent evidence of every dumb thing we’ve said or photographed on the internet in our earlier, stupider days.

Instagram is pushing restaurants to be kitschy, colorful, and irresistible to photographers

 

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When it came time to design their first restaurant, Media Noche, San Francisco entrepreneurs Madelyn Markoe and Jessie Barker found themselves lacking inspiration. Their designer had asked them for ideas and they felt like “deer in headlights.” Ultimately, Markoe says, they came up with a single instruction: “We wanted to be Instagrammable.”

For years now, Instagram has sat at the center of trends in food and beverages. Rainbow-colored “unicorn foods” are often designed with Instagram in mind, and entrepreneurs responsible for popular treats like the galaxy donut and Sugar Factory milkshake often see lines around the block after images of their products go viral. Firms like Paperwhite Studio specialize in turning restaurants into Instagram bait by designing twee sugar packets, menus, and coasters bearing slogans like “hello, my sweet” and “hug more.

Now some entrepreneurs are taking the idea a step further, designing their physical spaces in the hopes of inspiring the maximum number of photos.