New Year’s break found me more or less holed up at home, sprawled out on a sunny sofa with a book or two and multiple containers of food lying around me. Many of these vegetating sessions were spent ruminating over various topics, from life stories to ranking favourite chocolate bars to future plans to sartorial decisions. It’s pretty safe to say that much was pondered upon. And in between all the random puzzles that my brain deemed interesting enough to decode, something important I realised was that Instagram has got to be not just the social network that I use the most, but also that my love for it was scarily intense.
Most mornings, the first thing I do, still cosily curled up, is to open Instagram, sighing if there aren’t any notifications, and then proceeding to go through all the photographs that have been uploaded since the previous night, right before I fell asleep. Might be slightly needless to point out here that the last thing I almost always do before I fall asleep is to check Instagram.
Through out the day, I check Instagram, whenever I get a moment to myself. Bored in class (perpetual state of existence)? Instagram! Social obligations getting too tiring in the canteen? Instagram! Finally an empty seat on the trains? Instagram! Waiting at a queue in a shop? Instagram! Going up the long flight of stairs to my hostel room? Instagram!
It’s not just the incessant checking of Instagram, it’s also that I’ve started to see the world around me in terms of what would make for a pretty picture in Mayfair or in Low Fi. Both great favourites, by the way.And if I haven’t Instagrammed some interesting sight I chanced upon, or a picture of one of my friends in a particularly appealing moment, I start to see potential Instagram pictures in cups of coffee, cats sunning themselves on pavements, note book doodles, and any other random every day object that falls into my path.
So far I’ve contorted myself to fit into ledges and shelves, chosen seats on the train just for the light, googled pictures of favourite fictional characters, stalked people for candids, and done much stranger things. For I MUST have an Instagram that’s quirky and interesting and screams out, “I’M A FUN, COOL PERSON, I REALLY AM.”
But it’s not just about uploading pictures. The photographs I take are usually of the happy kind, serving as some sort of memoir of joy, or a token of appreciation and uploading them on Instagram and being able to share these photographs and sentiments with my friends and family does make me happy. And if I can make a pretty picture prettier, why not?
Instagram also shows me pictures taken by people around the world. It shows me how they live and what they value and what they deem interesting. This broadens my perspective on what can fall under the category of beautiful, and makes me realise how flimsy that concept is really. And it isn’t just breath taking sceneries, it’s also art and ideas from all corners of the world. That’s something that fascinates me to no end.
I suppose nothing about Instagram would be complete without a mention, if not rant, about selfies and food pictures. All the unnecessarily judgemental people out there make me grateful that I have very few of either. Not that I see anything wrong in them. My lack of selfies and food pictures stem from the fact that I’m almost always too broke to be eating beautiful food (and even if I weren’t, the glutton in me wouldn’t wait long enough to compose a decent photograph), and that I simply do not know how to take a selfie. What face do you make? What if your front camera is unbelievably crappy? What if someone sees you? God knows that privacy is a rare, rare commodity in hostel. And worth far too much to spend it on 243 selfies out of which I’d be lucky to find ONE decent one.
Coming back to Instagram, (digressing from original point is much fun-ner on Instagram), my addiction, if it can be termed that, is probably laughable and ever so slightly pathetic. But I couldn’t care less. I’ve always been somewhat of a visual person, drinking in beautiful and interesting sights ever since I was a little child. I’m quite sure lots of other people are. Instagram engulfs us with photographs that make us happy, sad, think, laugh and even inspired. And if in uploading a photograph I have taken, I could do that for another person, I think it’s kind of cool.