This is my first Christmas as a user of the popular smartphone app, Instagram. I refused to jump on the bandwagon for many months, making excuses that it was just another way for people to be pretentious, capturing their lives and applying filters for friends to double tap images in approval. Like many social mediums, it puts a focus on external reinforcement of your value as a person, through gaining followers and posting photos interesting enough for people to active their thumb and let you know. Props go out to those with more followers than those they follow. Pretentious – I think so.
But nonetheless, I have grown particularly fond of my Instagram account, as is commonplace with its millions of users. Last week, Instagram (owned by Facebook) issued a new set of Terms and Conditions to come into effect in January, 2013. The new set of agreements stated that any images on a public profile could potentially be used by the company for their own advertising purposes, without making payment to the image’s original owner. However, Sky News has reported, “Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos, you do.” Love a good bit of backlash to get regain our rights, huh?
Anyhow, on any given day I might log into Instagram a couple of times an hour, when I’m bored, when I have reception, or when I have an image to upload, myself. My usage of the app varies, but not a day goes by where I am completely sans Instagram. I am a product of my generation, but I feel my (over?)use of the program is not unusual amongst my peers. I follow friends predominantly, but also models, musicians and photographers from around the world, whose accounts I find are often updated from ‘a place I’d rather be’ (thanks, Corona).
So today I expected an increase in Instagram use due to the fact that it is Christmas Day (read my last post for my thoughts and wishes here), but what was once a platform where I may get one or two updates an hour, has been utterly transformed into an almost literal constant photo feed of celebrations, meals (Instagram – forever a foodie’s heaven), Christmas trees, dinning room tables adorned with Christmas crackers, champagne glasses, extended family clans, a multitude of presents, dressed up animals (with a variety of expressions), alcohol, scenic views, and brothers and sisters putting on a smile for the family photo.
So many photos, so little time one would think, on a day where it is important to be physically present and enjoying the company of those around you. But that’s the digital age for you, one where we are constantly connected, forever updating our profiles, our cyber existence, our Data Maps.
Regardless, I’ve enjoyed captured moments of Christmas from around the world, and for that, I have Instagram to thank. We had many funny moments here at our family Christmas, including my grandfather giving my dad a stack of presents most likely meant for my mum or me – a beautiful set of genuine Milano pearls as a multi-tiered necklace, a purse, bags and more, and he himself joining the digital age at 90, with a new mobile phone. Christmas is definitely something special.
You can follow me on Instagram at @elevfen.
And I recommend you follow these users too for your daily dose of viewing pleasure: Lynette Scott – @nett35, Doina Ciobanu – @goldendiamonds, Kristina Bazan – @kristina_bazan, @interiorinspiration, Charmaine Olivia – @charmaineolivia, @homes_, and Rumi Neely – @rumineely.