Before Joe even brought it up in the video, my mind went straight to social media. A big one for me, that I've noticed is massively driven by competition in numbers, is Instagram. I joined Instagram way back when it first started in 2010, and it wasn't that way at all. Ephraim was still a baby then, and at first it was just a fun and easy way to share pictures of him. Oh look! he's sleeping...oh, look! he has spaghetti all over his face. The usual new parent photographer shenanigans.
Eventually though, the aesthetic of my feed began to evolve when I realized I could still take and edit decent photos via my phone, and share them in the same manner I used to as an avid user of Flickr. (If you didn't know, many of the photos up on the site were taken with my phone, originally posted to Instagram.) I used to be a Flickr-holic, but after I had Ephraim there was a period, a long one, where I suffered through a creative dry spell. Being a new parent is exhausting, and I had a hard enough time keeping up with basic tasks. But as time went on, and I got to know this tiny stranger and we got into our groove, the creative parts of me slowly came back to life. But I noticed that I had less time for whipping out my camera and taking pictures of everything, as I did before I was a mom, and so Instagram became my new method of photo therapy.
I want to preface the next section with: I swear I'm not bragging, and I hate talking about numbers. Especially when talking about myself! But the numbers thing is sort of relevant. Over the last year, my Instagram follower count has climbed from 500ish last year this time to nearing 10k today. My friends joke that I'm Instagram famous (I'm not) and I want to put a blanket over my head.
Some things I've noticed as Instagram culture has evolved from users just having fun and sharing photos at the beginning to present day: people are obsessed with numbers. Over the last year, I've started getting random pleas for me to give shout outs, or to 'like' someones stuff, or to follow them - I soon figured out this is just one tactic people use to try and gain attention and/or folowers. And it's not just me of course. There are people with massive follower counts, with hundreds of comments like that. You can even buy followers. I had seen spam floating around in comments, and curious, I checked it out because it sounded ridiculous. And it appears that you can indeed buy followers.
The numbers thing really gets to me. I wish people were less driven or obssessed with numbers, and more so with quality. I find it all sad, because it seems for so many now, it's not about the photography, it's just about the numbers. People will beg for likes on their photos - I just don't see the point. Besides false affirmation of... something? The 'popularity'. It's been a real turn off for me, and I've gone from posting photos at least a few times a day to maybe a few times a week. (I admit, my love for hitRECord as a little bit to do with that.)
Another aspect that has just left a bad taste in my mouth, is the influx of pictures of stuff: who can take the prettiest picture of all the new shit they bought for themselves, their kids, their house. Like a giant, visual brag book. Please don't get me wrong. I don't mind if you share that – share whatever you want, we are all entitled to that. It's just that there is a faction of people, who proceed to go about this in a very flaunting manner. Staged photos with captions talking about one thing, like "Oh, what a lovely morning" – but really, you wanted to show everyone the really expensive rug you just bought. And you know everyone will be "Oh my god, I love your rug, where did you get it!?" Eye roll. I'm on to you.
It's all become very materialistic and less artistic, as it had once been for me. The longer I'm on hitRECord, the more these types of things annoy the hell out of me. Alas, that's probably a whole nother topic, as I believe a lot of it stems from something known 'blogger culture'. It's all related – and it's all one big game about popularity and numbers.
This turned out more ranty than I intended, sorry! <3
NOTE: In a fit of annoyance and feeling overwhelmed over so many strangers following me, I deleted my IG over the summer and started all over, and am perfectly happy with less than 200 followers. :)
Created: Aug 14, 2013Document Media