He once asked me what the appeal of Instagram was. “I don’t get it. Doesn’t Facebook offer the same things and more?”
He isn’t wrong, but it’s the “and more” that people are trying to avoid. You declutter and take away the articles that Facebook throws at you. The advertisements are streamlined and more subtle on Instagram, almost to the point of being works of art and not at all tools promoting consumption. The captions beneath the images are minimized to the point that it doesn’t matter what the words beneath the image are. All you want and need is the images.
Instagram appeals strictly to human vanity. To the visual. In the cases where it doesn’t, it allows us to live vicariously through others. To have the impression of human contact when one is not connected to others in their lives. It allows creeping without ever having to make contact or having to even know the person personally. It gives us access to millions of visually interesting images that we can quickly cast judgment on and choose to show our affirmation. It allows us to display our creativity and our authenticity, as well as our shallowness. It is a combination of everything wrong, everything right, everything beautiful, and everything ugly in life.
There is something both interesting and terrifying about all that.