When Instagram Culture Ruins a Vacation

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I WAS LEANING against a craggy rock on one of Mallorca’s more out-of-the-way beaches when I noticed a man perched atop a low cliff above the crystalline sea, slowly moving his outstretched hands horizontally from left to right.

“Ooh, that’s so cool,” I said, pointing him out to my girlfriend. “He must be doing tai chi.” Here was a refreshing meditative respite from the tourists with selfie sticks and GoPro video cameras who surrounded us on this unfathomably beautiful beach.

“Oh, wait. Nope—never mind,” I countered a moment later. “He’s taking a panoramic photo on his iPhone.”

We tried to relax but instead found ourselves quietly deriding the people mugging all around us. It wasn’t enough for them to simply snap a photo and have a swim: The entire experience had to be stored in HD and uploaded so that “likes” could be tallied and feelings of vacationer schadenfreude fanned. “It’s like all the people I unfollowed on social media in one place,” my girlfriend said. “If only I could unsubscribe from these people right now.” We had to admit, though, that we found the digitally driven narcissism on display more compelling than the setting.

“The future,” I mused to her, “will be all about finding better ways to shoot photos and videos that nobody will ever want to look at.”


On Fake Instagram, a Chance to Be Real

Illustration by Anna Parini

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What Are Finstagrams, Exactly?

…“Finstas are private accounts that you only let your closest friends follow,” said Amy Wesson, 18, a student at Trinity College who has more than 2,700 Instagram followers and about 50 finstagram followers. “You post things you wouldn’t want people other than your friends to see, like unattractive pictures, random stories about your day and drunk pictures from parties.”

…Backstabbers aren’t unheard-of. Called “finsta snitches,” these people take screen shots of revealing posts and use them for leverage. Ms. López described a situation in her high school in which several students posted compromising photos on their fake accounts that eventually reached the inboxes of authority figures.

Splintering as Self-Preservation

Fake Instagram accounts seem to be a distinct cultural product of people belonging to a generation raised with social media and smartphones. They are used to funneling their self-expression through many platforms, where their peers provide an instant response, much of it cutting. Because of this, finstagram, which is made for an audience of people who are tuned into the user’s point of view, has become, paradoxically, the “real” Instagram.


Australia Instagram star Essena O’Neill quits ‘unhealthy’ social media

This screengrab shows popular Instagram user Essena O'Neill

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A teenage Instagram star has made an emotional statement about the dark side of social media, editing the captions of her own pictures saying they were artificial and self-promoting.

With more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, Australian Essena O’Neill, 18, earned an income from social media. She became a social media celebrity through posting images of her apparently picture perfect lifestyle. She now says it left her feeling empty and addicted to social media likes.

“I’ve also spent hours watching perfect girls online, wishing I was them. When I became ‘one of them’, I still wasn’t happy, content or at peace with myself.”

She said she was re-editing captions on the remaining photos hosted on her Instagram account to reveal “manipulation, mundanity and insecurity”.

Instagram Has Become a Body-Image Battleground


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[Vin] Diesel, the actor in the “Fast and Furious” series, posted a response to the accusation he had a “dad bod” on his [Instagram] feed over the weekend, writing, “Body-shaming is always wrong!” He then followed up with a shot flashing his (pretty pronounced) abs.

It suggests that the social media platform could become something of a soapbox for this particular issue. Perhaps even the most effective soapbox.

It makes sense, after all, since body image, while a psychological issue, begins with optics, and Instagram is first and foremost an optical platform. Mr. Diesel’s words convey his position, but his picture shuts the debate down.

In any case, I don’t think this was necessarily part of the Instagram remit from the start, but the folks who administer the platform might start paying attention. There’s a lot of focus at the moment on what the platform can do for fashion, and on its retail potential, but it seems to me it may have at least as much, if not more, potential as the fulcrum of the national conversation on size and health.

The Truth Behind Instagram Photos


Excerpt from this article, be sure to click through to see the whole series of photos:

Every day, thousands of people on Instagram snap pictures meant to invent a new identity for themselves. That is the message behind this wonderful photo series by Chompoo Baritone, a photographer in Bangkok, Thailand who shows just how fake Instagram photos can be.

..Careful cropping and filtering can make mundane situations seem extraordinary.

Barbie Has a Hipster, Instagram-Loving Alter Ego

Image from @SocalityBarbie

Excerpt from this article, and also see this other article on the same topic:

Socality Barbie pokes fun at all those insufferable people on your feed who can’t help but post a highly stylized shot of their artfully foamed cappuccino. The staged photos emerge from all sorts of photogenic scenarios—camping, heading off on a road trip, jumping in front of the sunset on a beach. Posts are usually accompanied by captions punctuated with a “blessed” hashtag.

Pinterest’s Massive ‘Wander Women’ Trend is All About Travelling Solo

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When you hear about how women use Pinterest, wedding planning and style inspiration likely come to mind. But there’s also a huge new trend percolating on the platform that focuses mainly on fantasies of independence and living freely: female solo travel.

Travel inspiration has always been big on the platform, but the focus on travelling alone is recent.

Channeling the best-selling solo travel memoirists Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert, “wander women” post photos that show them with their arms spread wide, taking in the saturated scenery around them, and looking incredibly free. With their on-trend backpacks slung over their shoulders, they pose with locals, don’t bother with makeup, and ride elephants. The photos make travel seem like a boundless, epic adventure.