Instagram vs. The World

Instagram vs. Facebook

Facebook by its very design is suffocatingly incestuous. You can only hide from familiar and semi-familiar faces for so long before Facebook pinpoints your exact location in a personalized Venn diagram. Then the nudging starts. Psst, you. We know you. We know who you run around with, too. Like this guy. Don't you wanna add him? No? Are you sure? Ok, well, tomorrow we'll ask you if you want to add his friend Larry. We know you know Larry, too. 

Anonymity and privacy are just abstractions in the Facebook universe. Worse; they're obstacles to be batted away, since they only get in the way of Facebook's bottom line. Your social pool gets more and more crowded, filling up with people that you often feel obligated to allow in. And crowded swimming pools are gross. Especially when everyone in them is splashing and screaming and trying to prove their back flips are the best.

Instagram is the perfect antidote to Facebook's inbreeding, offering a refreshing blast of new/different/strange, anytime you want it. It opens the social media gene pool back up.  Hell, the pool doesn't even have to be social, if you don't it to be. It can be blissfully silent, since you don't have to even verbally acknowledge anyone in your Instagram feed, ever. Because first and foremost, it's about the images. And that is what gets me off. If you want to build a following of likewise talented and inspiring people who will in turn inspire you, you've got to bring it. Sure, you can network socially, limiting your circle to the already-known variables in your Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest equation. And sure, there are celebrities and celebrity bloggers who have an insta-following, and who use IG as a daily diary for the peeping masses.

And that's fine.

But for the most part, Instagram is thrillingly democratic in its creative model. The "Following" tab is absolutely genius, because it allows users to tumble happily down a viscerally-motivated, visual rabbit hole of tap tap taps, and like like likes. No one knows who I am, when they see the thumbnail of a photo their followee (my follower) just liked. All they know is, they like that thumbnail, too. No names. No faces. No invitations. Just fast-fading ripples, as you glide through an ocean of unfamiliar and exciting imagery. And who wouldn't prefer swimming in the ocean, to a pool crowded with contemptuously familiar bodies?

Instagram vs. Twitter

I'm coming round to loving Twitter, I really am. But not unconditionally, and not for the typical reasons. What I love about Twitter (besides its ability to disseminate politically, culturally, and socially salient information in real time), is its potential as a creative platform, especially for those who might not otherwise get a spot on the stage. I know, I know. How creative can you be with a tweet? Answer: see @mollyaboud. And yes, there are "better" and certainly bigger Tweeps. But she's recent find with a shamefully small following, considering how clever she is.

What finally ensnared me in the Twitterweb was reading the dozens of stunningly funny tweets that came up in my reader each day, as aggregated by the Happy Place blog. I laughed. I marveled. I got inspired. I know using Twitter as a personal, one-line-at-a-time comedy club is not everyone's bag. But I'm the girl who prizes her New Yorker Caption Contest win coughcontestnumber273cough as one of the plumiest feathers in her creative cap. I love me a zinger. And I think it's fucking awesome to see others crunch often deceptively complex concepts gracefully down into 140 characters. That really does take skill. And I especially love when it's done by women. And when I see women promoting and supporting the wit of other women, I totally get a lady boner.

But I digress, hugely.

Twitter is great for making connections, whether you use it to exchange bon mots with other quipsters or to crowdsource quinoa recipes. But Instagram has the potential to plug up a hole that Twitter leaves - not being able to see your followers, and not being able to talk to them in more than byte-sized conversations. When someone on IG shares with me the details of their lives - when I get to see their homes, their offices, their pets and children - that's when I start to feel like I really know them. IG can open a window into someone's life in the same way that blogging can. Only, it's like being James Stewart in Rear Window. All of those windows are within instant view, because they're all in the same building, right in front of you. The windows are uniform, equally transparent, and I can see at a glance what's inside the rooms...and know immediately whether I want to keep looking.

So maybe it isn't so much a case of Instagram > Twitter as it is Instagram + Twitter = :)

Instagram vs. Pinterest

Instagram : Pinterest :: Source : Bibliograpy

Instagram : Create :: Pinterest : Curate

Enough said, I think? I'm not a librarian and I don't run an art gallery. So I know which parts of those analogies appeal more to me, anyway. I don't mean that as a knock on Pinterest or its users, I really don't. I think it's a super cool tool, and I love the interface and flow.

It's just that I have a very personal, very pressing need to be a creator. My self-esteem is inseparable from that need. And while I absolutely acknowledge that there's huge potential for pure creation in Pinterest (interesting, clever, and beautifully edited boards - not to mention the social ingenuity and grace involved in building a Pinterest following), at the end of the day, I feel like if I'm sitting at the Pinterest table, I can't be as creative as I can be at the Instagram or Twitter tables - not to mention the table that is this blahg. I'm mucking about with tracing paper and a #2 pencil, when what I really want are some goddamned crayons. And a typewriter. And a camera.

Instagram vs. Flickr

Flickr, I loved ye, I really did. I still do. But your distant cousin IG is so much smarter, cooler, sexier, and easier to talk to. Sorry. It was hot while it lasted. I especially liked our Picnics. But you just haven't kept yourself up, honestly, and I no longer fancy you the way I once did. But hey, if you wouldn't mind holding onto my stuff for a while longer, that'd be great. Thanks babe.