Why is Instagram so popular? The answer to this question is not really apparent – and it lies deeply hidden in the psyche of us normal people! I have few thoughts on this popular way of expression. As mentioned here, there are more than 300 million active monthly Instagram users, with more than 75 million daily active users.
I think the first reason is that we are visually stimulated creatures. I have yet to meet a human that is not able to cast eyes on something of beauty and not appreciate it in some way or another. We appreciate, judge, obsess, love and hate objects based on the way they interact visually with our being. You will probably notice the subtle use of the term “something of beauty”, since we don’t always agree on what is beautiful to us. But we definitely appreciate it in similar visual ways!
The format of Instagram also challenges the age old golden triangle theorem – or it is at least a very pleasing departure from it. The format was probably determined by the initial limitations of the mobile phone, but I think it is now an acceptable form of expressing visual art. I have seen many lively discussions and efforts to fit a vista into this format. Off course, a short search will also show that the landscape/portrait formats are still valid and popular on Instagram – many vistas have more impact in that way.
I have experienced two negatives so far on Instagram. The first is that people sometimes forget that context is real and can enhance the value of an image by orders of magnitude. Without context, an image becomes part of the drudgery of boring content that can only be appreciated by close friends or family. The other side of that comment is that lack of context sometimes becomes the basis of really good abstract work. The other negative I have found is the attitude of some Instagrammers. I once got a comment from a user (in very rude language) to “stop taking images of small things that is badly composed”. Well…. off course you are entitled to that opinion. And yes, there may be a good argument there. And maybe you have a good point. But… when I looked this user’s profile – I found the most horrible image collection. So I wonder where that comment came from. My lesson from this experience was twofold – if you don’t like it, move on! And – yes, your opinion is important, but hey, I like my stuff. Nuff said!
People like to share their lives and daily routines – and the ideal way is to show an image that tells a story of a thousand words! I might be short of words if you point out Instagram accounts that specialize in selfies – one account holder stated “Sorry, I take selfies only”! Many people on Instagram tend to build a body of work that characterize them, their daily lives, and values. Who are we to judge? A great way of sharing!
I personally find that Instagram has forced me to look for the beauty in everyday things – when you are forced to look for beauty you are more inclined to notice and appreciate all the objects around you. I once had a campaign where I posted at least two images every day, for a period of six months. I met some really interesting people this way, while my appreciation of my environment went up a few steps. You should try it!
Feel free to visit my Instagram account