Instagram or Inspiring in an instant has grown out of an app that nearly every phone user has. Released in 2010, it has attracted 400 millions of customers worldwide, 90% of which are under 35, surpassing Twitter’s and LinkedIn’s reach. Instagram acts a powerful marketing tool especially for photo-dependent entities (models/ photographers/ cook/ fashion designers/ clothing/ designers of all kinds/ travel operators), expanding their fanbase interactions and at the same time, affecting our lives in a negative way as a jealousy trigger, as mentioned in this widely-shared New York Times article – The agony of Instagram.
Stepping to the photo platform for only a year without utilizing its potential just yet, to me, Instagram is a great story telling channel, and I can totally relate to how dangerous and at the same time, how fascinating this can be.
Social-media voyeurism and the fear of missing out
Daniel Radcliffe is one of stars choosing to live his life out of social media and his answer in the interview with Sky News magazine came straight to the point. Starting from a tool to connect and interact, social media is also a channel for self-expression, crafting digital lives that fit with how we view ourselves or how we expect our lives to be.
Compared to Facebook or Twitter, Instagram is easier to trigger jealousy. As a photo site with user-friendly filtering functions, Instagram brings snapshots together, cutting out mundane moments and pop, in seconds everyone of us looks much more interesting. It helps us to zoom out and see life moments stretching in a long period of time being condensed. If posts in Facebook are a disorganized mess of thoughts, status and photos, Instagram hypes everything up and in an instant we are surrounded by beautiful people and exciting adventures. It is hard not to be affected by these and look back thinking “What is wrong with me?”
A great therapeutic tool
Daniel Radcliffe has a point since as a star, his privacy can be heavily affected by social media and as an ordinary person, social media can make us live more digitally than “in-the-moment”, in a way lowering our self-esteem by decreasing our authenticity.
However, Instagram does not have to be that way. Before phones and all kinds of apps became prevalent, nearly each of us has printed photo album which we treasure and carry around. How is that photo album different from this digital version? Each photo carries with it a certain memory, a story, a person we met which might never reunite. Instagram can be a source of nostalgia in a good way. It helps us, in a moment, to travel back in time, immerse in that memory now vividly visualized in our head and reminds us that we have experienced a not-so-bad journey. In that grid, there is no space for worries and frets, just beauties and adventures.
In his book “Don’t sweat the small stuff“, Richard Carlson, a well-known psychotherapist shares 100 succinct advices about how to live lves more lightly without worries, in which the 16th one is this
Instead of sucking in whatever bad moment we are in, Instagram helps us to embrace Time Wrap- a great exercise to give us perspective. It releases us from the prison of day-time block, stretching our vision and in a way, will make us more carefree, generous and daring , welcoming uncertainties with less worry. We know that most of the things do not matter a year from now, so why care?
Aside from jealousy, Instagram can be a source of inspiration. Sometimes we need somebody else to slap in our face and show us how limited our world is, and there is so much out there to explore. In this facet, we can be both – the ones inspiring and the one being inspired.
Okay get up and do something about it.
A picture is worth a thousand words? We need both
Asia Outdoors and Ethos Travel are two of our many tour operators in Vietnam that have been utilizing Instagram to tell stories. Instead of hiring a copy writer to describe how amazing a place is, they just show them its awesomeness. When my customers ask me the difference between normal rice paddy fields and rice-terraces for example, I simply click on the images and from that, start explaining
The pictures set us in the right context and saves me from unnecessary desciption, from which I can go further to tell my guests about the favorite village of photographers in Northwest Vietnam or how difficult yet interesting rice planting in mountains can be.
In the end it is our choice to be depressed or be inspired. Instagram has no fault, and definitely NOT an agony.