The Teens Who Rack Up Thousands of Followers by Posting the Same Photo Every Day

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Every day for more than a year, Joey, a 15-year-old high-school student, has logged on to Instagram and posted the exact same photo of Otis, a cartoon cow from the children’s TV show Back at the Barnyard, to an account that now has almost 30,000 followers.

“For the first couple weeks, the account was only followed by my friends mostly, and a few other people I didn’t know,” said Joey, who, like all the teenagers quoted in this story, asked to be referred to by his first name only. “Over time, it just started to grow crazy amounts of followers, so I started to get committed and continue to run it.”

“Same photo every day” accounts are a subgenre of interest-based “daily” accounts, dedicated to posting one thing within a set theme every day. But over the past year, they’ve become more popular. “It’s just trendy now,” said Lily, a 19-year-old who posts the same photo of her friend every day.

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The Existential Void of the Pop-Up ‘Experience’

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These places are often described as “Instagram Museums,” and the real experience plays out only after we post photographic evidence on social media. The internet is an increasingly visual space, and these museums, with their enormous pools of candy and gargantuan emoji props, are designed to fit the shrunken-down Instagram grid. What’s the point of anything else?

The central disappointment of these spaces is not that they are so narcissistic, but rather that they seem to have such a low view of the people who visit them. Observing a work of art or climbing a mountain actually invites us to create meaning in our lives. But in these spaces, the idea of “interacting” with the world is made so slickly transactional that our role is hugely diminished. Stalking through the colorful hallways of New York’s “experiences,” I felt like a shell of a person. It was as if I was witnessing the total erosion of meaning itself. And when I posted a selfie from the Rosé Mansion saying as much, all of my friends liked it.

Instagram’s in love with bare-faced brutalism – and so am I

Preston bus station

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Has Instagram saved brutalist architecture? That theory has been put forward by the editor of Phaidon’s new Atlas of Brutalist Architecture, which surveys nearly 1,000 bare-faced concrete structures around the world. Editor Virginia McLeod attributes the style’s resurgence to the assiduous hashtagging of the Instagram community – nearly half a million #brutalism posts and counting. “I noticed more and more interest in brutalist architecture,” McLeod told Bloomberg last week. “People were excited about it and loved the graphic quality of it.”

I would have to argue there’s more to it than that – the “it” being both brutalism’s revival and appreciation of architecture in general. Brutalism’s newfound Instagram popularity is potentially just as superficial as what made it unpopular in the first place.

 

Is social media influencing book cover design?

An Instagram post by bookstagramer @booksfemme

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For a time, it seemed that eBooks and kindles would displace their physical counterparts, but this didn’t quite come to pass. Like the recent revival of zines, the encroach of digital has resulted in a renewed appreciation for the physical – and beautiful. Part of this has been in direct response to eBooks; a tactic to boost the sales of physical books is to remake them as desirable objects, and a way to make objects desirable is, of course, to make them aesthetically appealing. But social media – specifically Instagram, which promotes the coveting of beautiful covers on hashtags such as #bookstagram – is putting a new emphasis on cover aesthetics. We no longer need to go home with someone in order to see their bookcase.

The Deadly Waterfall in the Instagram Age

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The soaring popularity of this oasis in the Catskill Mountains, lifted by internet fame, has accelerated the problem.

In response, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been implementing new safety features over the past four years.

Forest rangers have struggled to keep the growing crowds safe. They estimate the falls see 100,000 visitors a year, a tenfold increase from a quarter century ago.

Mr. Dawson said he believed social media was responsible. “Just talking to people who come up here, they say, ‘Yeah, we saw this on the internet — we’re trying to find it,’” Mr. Dawson said. “The unfortunate thing is, with those pictures, there’s nothing informing people that you could get seriously hurt here, too.”

The Newest Face of Diet Culture is the Instagram Butt

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Like the rest of diet culture, the Instagram Butt is a moralized attribute, gained only though, according to its purveyors, “hard work,” regimented diet (there’s a lot of overlap between #bootygails and the #IIFYM world), and “dedication,” whatever that means.

But that “hard work” isn’t just 20 minutes on a StairMaster. Flipping through the associated hashtags, there are also miracle cures and wondrous technology to get you there. There are #influencers with tips and tricks and appetite-suppressing candies. There are massive genetic barriers that may keep a person from achieving The Look — and there are cosmetic surgeries to help overcome them.

These are the trappings of the diet industry, a self-perpetuating mechanism that generates billions of dollars by perpetually over-promising and under-delivering. When the diet industry hits a bump in the road — like when people stopped being duped by Snackwells and started looking for “healthy” foods — the manufacturers of supplements, snacks, and sugary drinks pivot to meet consumer demand.

This new emphasis on building muscle and strength may appear, in many ways, to be a positive trend — and indeed, weight lifting is revolutionary for many people! — but the laser focus on a thick tush is not about health or wellness. It’s about buying stuff.