And here we had thought that high school was over; that we could make or break our lives without worrying about what others thought o us. Hardly had we anticipated the meteoric rise of Instagram, the new (and improved) high school. Undeniably, it looks good from the outside. The filter and angles make you see different perspectives but soon one realises that the quagmire of crab-like vindictiveness is onto you. And back to school you go. This is how it unfolds.
1. Your Popularity is Based on Likes
You thinks that you are educated, aware and that human nature cannot get the better of you? You will be not-so-pleasantly surprised to see you craving for likes. You realise that these ‘likes’ up your popularity meter. It is no more a question of mere acceptance but that of getting fame and recognition on the basis of these clicks.
2. There are Cliques
Once you enter into the world of Instagram deeply, you realise that there are age-specific, region-specific and interest-specific groups. These groups are close-knit and they stick together. Reposting and shouting-out to each other, they help in creating an elitist system where some members are more revered than others.
3. They are Hard to be Accepted into
Going on from the idea that the number of likes and followers are important and being part of a group is even more so to be ‘suggested’ as a user of Instagram, it is mighty difficult to become accepted into these virtual groups. This is especially true when you are doing something different and no to the taste of others.
4. Instagram is Only Partially True
While we use the app to showcase our lives and express happiness, we are also aware that we only show what we want people to know. This is in fact true of all social media. It demonstrates the parties, food and all the places we visit but it also has silences with regard to fights, troubles, heartbreaks and despair.
5. Posts are Filtered
With the reality being only half-baked, the perception of reality also becomes heavily skewed and more aesthetic. Life in general is normal and ordinary but Instagram has the ability of making them unreal and too beautiful to be true. Sounds like high school? We think so too. You go deeper and you understand the partial treatment you find.
6. It is a Cauldron of Jealousy and Self-Esteem Issues
Similar to high school, the social structure makes it a tough place to battle with acceptance by oneself and by others. Looking at the likes and followers of others makes it a very commonplace affair to be envious by the popularity of others. Thousands and thousands of likes can cripple creativity when ones own post rack up mere numbers.
7. lt is a Most Superficial App
It does not add to productivity or create any kind of revenue but all it does it attract attention. This is particularly true of how high school functions. While it provides you with a lot of practise to deal with real life, it is not real life. One can use this app to reach out to an audience, but it can equally open you up to new people if and only if you have the right connections. One would think that Instagram has democratised art or photography but it is not so because of my following point.
8. You Have to Have a Theme
Much like everything that a structured society follows, Instagram pretends to be a creative space that allows freedom. One realises that this is not true when one looks at accounts that do really well on the popularity charts. It is expected that your account must have a single-minded focus and a quirky enough theme that you have to mindlessly keep on posting about even if you are bored to death of it. This surely kills motivation when anything out of your chosen theme crops up on the feeds and racks up single digits.
9. It Encourages Aloofness
With such hoards of problems that dog an ordinary or lay user on this ‘social’ app, one finds no other way but to absolutely stop caring about likes, followers and shout outs. Which is defeating the purpose of it being a social networking site. Remind anyone of school times? When tired of all the drama, people just chose to reach back into their shells and do their own thing? The Instagram version of that is the lack of use of hashtags and just putting up things for the love of photography and not to seek inspiration.
10. The Grapevine
Lastly, High School had a perfect way of communicating gossip and rumours. This is the modern version of the ‘Burn Book’. Instagram is the best way of keeping tabs on the lives of others. Noticing comments and likes would reveal a lot about our near ones and lots of people use it to their benefit, continuing the plague of bitchiness and overall voyeurism. Not to say that Instagram is not open to everyone. It is. But one cannot deny that if you can crack the code, you can pass the test.