I thought I would make a change from posting about film and attempt to talk about something different. As a teenager I can see the benefits to social networking, I think in some cases it’s brilliant. It allows me to communicate with people without having to walk to their house just to inquire as to how they’re feeling today. But sometimes I have to admit I get annoyed by it very easily.
It seems that in today’s world there is a very small amount of things people keep away from the public eye. In a way I miss the days when people were only just starting a Facebook profile, because it was the days when people barely posted anything, in fear of being mocked or judged by others. Those days were brilliant, the days where you got the basic facts about how someone was and what they were doing without being bombarded by pointless information. You could scroll through your news feed and see statuses like “I am in Spain at the moment. I am very Happy”. But now we have this strange situation where every thing is splattered across social networks. You’ve got where someone is, how they’re feeling, who they’re with, what colour socks they’re wearing, what drink they’ve got, it’s just getting out of hand. I know people have the freedom to post what they want, and quite rightly so, but sometimes it does seem a little excessive to be posting constantly.
I’ve got less anger towards Facebook and Twitter because they bring me a lot of fun, through reading arguments or indeed being involved in arguments. However there is one form of social networking that annoys me to the extent of wanting to throw my phone at a wall, and that’s Instagram. I’ll say it now because I don’t want to seem like I’m being a hypocrite; I have an Instagram account and I used it for quite a long time. Nowadays my account is still open and I have the odd flick every now and then, but other than that I do not use it. Anyway, the concept is quite basic and could work nicely, if people didn’t use it for absolutely everything, and I mean everything. If you want to share a picture that your friends can see, then at least make it a picture that is worth sharing. The idea of having a photograph for me, is to capture a memory that you want to keep hold of, like on holiday or at a gig or whatever event you hold close to you, because it captures what you consider to be special and important moment that you will possibly never live again. It seems as though the concept of a picture has changed, now it seems to be something for you to get ‘likes’ on.
Drawing on the point I made earlier about the first days of Facebook when people barely posted, and how now they post everything, Instagram is the epicenter of this nightmare. You’ve got people posting pictures of everything so that you know every tiny detail about them. ‘This is the page of the Jodi Picoult book I’m reading’ ‘I’m on the 43rd minute of an Adam Sandler film’ ‘my underwear is blue today’. It’s even gotten to the extent now of people posting pictures of them selves in the bath! When did this start happening? When did somebody decide ‘you know what I actually feel like invading my own privacy’. Do people need to know you’re in the bath? And furthermore do we need pictorial evidence to allay our doubts? There wasn’t masses of people questioning the situation, thinking ‘maybe they’re just sat in a puddle’. It’s gotten out of control really, I’m dreading the day I see my first snap of someone on the toilet. You may laugh at that but you’ll stop laughing eventually when you realise it will happen.
The worst thing about Instagram for me is that it’s ruining Holidays for people. Instead of going to another country and experiencing another culture, we’ve got people sat on their phones trying to decide which filter to use on the picture they have just taken of their flip flops. It just amazes me how someone can have a different country, a different culture right in front of them, and yet they would rather take a picture of themselves with their tongue out and caption it “got my sunglasses on!”. I would understand it if they were taking pictures of the country they were in and taking in the amazing views, but if you’re just taking the same stupid pictures that you take at home it seems a bit pointless. I can understand using a social network from abroad because it lets your contacts know that you’re still alive or that you’re having a good time, but if you are constantly using one whilst away then it somewhat negates the benefits of going on holiday. It makes sense wanting some pictures of yourself on holiday because they hold quite good memories for you, but there’s a line people cross that becomes excessive. There are some people I just wish I could shout at “you are in a beautiful country that is so much different from the one you live in, put your silly little phone down and appreciate where you are”.
If you ever get Instagram you will soon find that the bane of your life becomes the hash tag. That thing is everywhere! Literally, for quite a dull picture that doesn’t have a lot of elements you’d be surprised how many ‘hashtags’ people can squeeze in. And that’s where two problems lie for me, the first is that the idea of a hashtag is that people search under that category to find pictures of that nature. So why would you need to hashtag quite a ordinary thing such as ‘#coffee’? As if there are coffee enthusiasts worldwide searching for their update on people’s caffeine intake. It just seems silly to take pictures of something that in all likelihood people have no interest in and it’s something that you come across on a daily basis. Problem number two is that people don’t know when to stop with hashtags, they overload a caption with to the extent of labeling things that are not even in the picture. You’ll see a big paragraph of ‘#girl #young #teen #blond #blueeyes #newnails #curlyhair’ which just leaves you baffled because it’s a picture of their mug of tea on a table. Are we that desperate to get ‘likes’?
Perhaps I’m just old fashioned in my views? Maybe the point of a photograph is not to capture a moment that is rare, maybe it’s now all about capturing things you experience on a daily basis, like putting socks on or brushing your teeth. I hope that’s not the case. I still can’t understand why someone would want to see a picture of something so dull like your feet, or new gloves, or the sandwich you’re having for lunch. If you took a picture and the caption was “got my new socks on” I would consider the possibility that you have quite an empty life. If however you posted a picture and the caption was “got my new socks on… and I’m on the moon” then I would take an interest and feel jealous that I’m not part of this memory.
As I have said before I have an account, and I will admit I have fallen victim to some of the things I have mentioned (not to such an extreme extent luckily) so I can’t act completely innocent in this grand scheme of shit. I used to post pictures of the most tedious rubbish that sprang to mind “look here’s my cat” “here’s the new film I’m bought” “here’s the Neil Diamond song I’m currently listening to”. I will say it, it’s only after you’ve looked at it from an outsider’s perspective that you realise just how stupid it all is, and it makes me feel like an idiot because I was part of it for a good seven months. There are people that post pictures of themselves three or four times a day, which to me kind of shows that they must have quite a boring life.
The situation only gets worse from here though, camera phones are the main way we view things in today’s world. They give people the freedom to post pictures of whatever they want and post them however many times they want, but then on the other side of the coin I have the freedom to express my opinion however many times I like. In the future if any large events happen they’re not going to be viewed normally, they’re going to be viewed through the screen of a smart phone, with a filter on them to make them look slightly darker with a hint of black and white, and a pretty frame. I can’t wait.