When I first downloaded Instagram “156 weeks” ago, I had no idea what it was. Facebook was over (despite having been my entire social life in college) and the world needed a new outlet. Posting synopses of weekend activities on friend’s walls had lost its appeal.
Unfortunately, I was yet to discover the meaning of “share”. Who knew this meant the world and my college tutor could see my photos, which mainly consisted of cupcakes, my dog and a wide range of couple shots. It was a month in and I was oblivious. Until a friend accused me of being “one of those“ – apparently she hadn’t clocked me for someone who documented her entire relationship online. Whoops. And I had just being enjoying the filters.
This shiny new app has since launched the careers of a multitude of aspiring models, actors, and reality stars. It has documented the everyday lives of over 400 million people across the world. We now know what Kim K, David Beckham, and Beyonce eat for breakfast, and it’s not Coco Pops. The beachside cocktail has been having a moment for the past four years. It is burnt out, over-worked, due a mini-break.
Instagram is a driving force, one that has sparked worldwide trends, including ‘Throwback Thursday’ and the ’Selfie’ – both over-used and abused by every Tom (Cruise), Dick (Gere) and (Prince) Harry. Instagram launches advertising campaigns, fashion collections, film trailers, exercise routines. We are bombarded with aspirational images 24/7. We are living 400 million lives every day. Often I am confused – was that me sipping a cocktail on a yacht in St.Barts, Harry Style draped over one arm? Oh wait no, that was Kendall Jenner. I stayed on the couch and debated leaving it, in between taking screenshots of Francois Hardy on my newsfeed. My name is Lisa, and I am an addict.
Nicola Formichetti, creative director of Diesel, recently spoke to AnOther Magazine, “Things online are becoming better than reality, everyone’s profiles look great but they’re all airbrushed. I wonder when there’ll be a backlash, when everything will have to change…” Instagram allows us control over how others view our lives – it gives us a power that is addictive. Those idiosyncrasies we wish could be controlled in person can be airbrushed – that nervous laugh, those forehead wrinkles, those ghastly roots. No wonder we love a good filter. It serves both our ego and our envy – who wouldn’t like a front-view to the lives of the rich and famous. After all, who would we aspire to be if not a Kardashian.