Their Street Is Famous on Instagram, and They Can’t Take It Anymore

People stand on Paris's Rue Cremieux

Excerpt from this article:

It’s easy to see why Paris’s Rue Crémieux is such a hit on Instagram.

Filled with small pastel-painted houses, weathered cobblestones, and blooming window boxes, the car-free street near Bastille has become one of Europe’s most popular spots to strike a pose, with the hashtag #ruecremieux now linking to over 31,000 images.

We don’t need to take his word for it. A local resident has hit back with the Instagram and Twitter accounts Club Crémieux—tagline “shit people do Rue Crémieux”—which reveals a street thronged with dance crews, bachelorette parties, and even, for some reason, Japanese municipal mascot Kumamon. Filled with people attracted to a setting that looks idyllic with the right filter, a resident entering their home becomes an unwonted exercise in photobombing.


How Letterboards Took Over America

A letterboard with an important question

Excerpt from this article:

Wynn Galbraith is only 3, but she already holds an important distinction: At 6 months old, she was, as far as anyone can tell, the first baby ever to be Instagrammed in a now-familiar style, a “flat lay” from above, with a then-novel prop: a felt letterboard that announced her age.

This photo setup is a common one on the app these days. You’ve no doubt seen and maybe even double-tapped at least a few of these shots, which are posted by the dozens each week. The typical sign is black with a wooden frame, and comes with a collection of white plastic letters to be endlessly rearranged into the pithy message of your choosing. The reason we can isolate Wynn as the probable pioneer of the pose is that her mother and father, Johnny and Joanna Galbraith, say they invented it. Inventing a certified Instagram pose is a rare feat, but rarer still is what the Utah-based Galbraiths did with the company they started in 2015, Letterfolk. They didn’t invent the felt letterboard, but by most accounts they are the people responsible for transforming the signs from a forgotten industrial relic to something like a nostalgic décor essential.

Confessions of a Selfie Addict

Excerpt from this article:

…many Instagrammers have, in an effort to add gravitas to their feeds, turned their backs on self-evident charms of the selfie in favor of more sincere genres. Examples include flowers ’n’ sunsets, and, my least favorite, those screenshots of text, usually platitudes of the what-doesn’t-kill-you-will-make-you-stronger variety. Also a bit worrying: those heartwarming pictures of (nonconsenting) pets and children. These make me nervous. I have visions of these unwittingly Instagrammed brats decrying their parents in therapists’ offices in years to come, claiming toddler privacy violations.

I make no apologies for being an unapologetic selfie-apologist. The same boring people who decry the selfie are the ones who used to insist on shoving their TVs inside a French armoire. That is so ratchet! (Am not exactly sure what ratchet means, but the Chainsmokers use it in their “Selfie” song so it must be groovy and au courant.) Selfies are fabulously stupid. Selfie vanity is life-affirming. There’s a manic pouting tween inside all of us. Set her free! Long live the selfie!

While dragging my eyeballs across these endless images of pets and peonies, I made a critical discovery: The most enthralling Instagrammers are, paradoxically, the ones with the most superficial occupations. Nuclear physicists and politicians are a big yawn, but models and makeup artists, are, whether intentionally or unintentionally, quite bizarrely entertaining.

Welcome to the Bold and Blocky Instagram Era of Book Covers

Excerpt from this article:

Books that are designed to render well on digital screens also look great on social. Let’s return for a moment to our avatar of great publicity, Marlon James. Black Leopard, Red Wolf’s publisher, Riverhead Books, has an Instagram account so pristine, so archetypical of contemporary design, that you’d think its jackets were all designed explicitly to sit there and rack up likes — likes that ideally convert to sales.

It’s a classic rule of marketing: The more touch points a potential reader has with a particular book — the more times they see a cover posted by an account they trust — the more likely they are to buy. Consider a fairly recent Instagram success. “Alex Chee’s How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is a book that people posted pictures of so many times that word-of-mouth became word-of-eye,” says Straub. “Not only would someone come in and say, ‘I’ve heard about this book,’ but they’d know what it looked like.”

In a marriage of irony and logic, a book that pops in a filtered miniature Instagram still life can declare its presence just as loudly from across the room, particularly in the boutique environment of the modern independent bookstore.

Home Is Where the Photo Booth Is: How Instagram Is Changing Our Living Spaces

Excerpt from this article:

Marrujo’s party is one of a handful of private get-togethers I attended in 2018 that included a dedicated Instagram wall, where guests could take photos good enough to graduate from the Instagram Stories feed to a post on their permanent grids. For her annual holiday party, Cosmopolitan senior editor Jessica Goodman cleared out her home office and covered one of its walls with CVS wrapping paper.

The so-called social media moment—i.e., a studio-esque photo op—was once a concept companies used as a marketing tool at promotional events. But as Instagram has grown in size over the years, so has its influence on the physical world.

He Reported on Facebook. Now He Approaches It With Caution.

Excerpt from this article:

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Nick Confessore, an investigative reporter, discussed the tech he’s using.

The social media app I really miss is Instagram. I always had a private account, and I accept requests only from real-life friends and family. So it’s an ocean of sanity and genuine relationships compared with Twitter, which is a hell of random angry people. But when I log in — once or twice a week at most, usually on my wife’s phone — I’m now hyper-conscious that every like, thumb click and scroll may go into my permanent Facebook record.

Is deleting Facebook an effective way to protect privacy?

Not in the slightest.

It may interfere with Facebook’s ability to track you as a consumer. But almost every website you visit or app you have on your phone is to some extent tracking where you go and what you do.

The Joy of #Cooking Why are Instagram-famous recipes so impossible to resist?

Excerpt from this article:

Until mid-November, #TheStew was an Instagram hashtag primarily devoted to Boston hip-hop producers, filled with dimly lit shots of guys hunched over their laptops. (“Stew” is a play on “studio.”) Very quickly, though, the images featured on the hashtag transformed into shot after shot of actual stew, milky and yellow, decorated with a few chickpeas and a scattering of fresh herbs. Every image was a version of the same stew, a recipe for Spiced Chickpea Stew With Coconut and Turmeric by New York Times food columnist Alison Roman, and if you follow urbane, food-loving millenials on social media, you probably thought that everyone in the world decided to make it for dinner this winter.

In less than two months, #TheStew has taken on a life of its own, and has no doubt entered the regular cooking rotation for numerous home cooks around the country. In the days when cookbooks, food magazines, and product labels were the primary spots that people found new recipes, it could take months or even years for ideas to become universally beloved household staples… But in the age of digital word of mouth, you only need to see the same recipe pop up on your feed so many times before you feel compelled to try it — and then of course to post about it yourself. The Instagram snowball effect means a recipe can enter the home-cooking canon in a matter of days, not years. Call it the joy of hashtag cooking.