Where did the time go?
It feels like just yesterday that I sat across from my friends in a pub, judging their incessant need to document our night out with a bevy of photos and filters via some mystery app that made said photos look old. They said they think I’d really like it and that it’s something they think I’d be good at. I said they didn’t know me and how dare they make assumptions about who I am. And then, in the privacy of my apartment, I downloaded it, anyway: Instagram.
The year was 2011, and I was a year behind, the way I usually am when it comes to technology. In October 2010, Instagram was born, making this month its fifth birthday, another milestone in a long line of evolutions — all of which have taken it farther from the app’s original M.O.: to share photos with friends.
Since then, it’s arguably replaced Facebook in terms of relevance (here’s to no friends from high school sharing whatever-it-is friends from high school usually share), Twitter in terms of engagement (we now know what the interiors of many celebrity homes look like), and MySpace in terms of me needing a third social media platform to round out this paragraph. It’s where we find out about makeovers, major life developments, favourite brands used, and just how well the people we know dress. We see common interests between ourselves and our beloved famouses, we learn who has a penchant for landscapes with meditative captions, and we get a glimpse of what so-and-so’s watching on Netflix tonight.
Despite being owned by Facebook, Instagram has maintained its original ability to be what it started out as. Private accounts mean you really can just share photos and call it day — while those of us who crave attention (so: most of us) curate our feeds to paint a very distinctive picture of who we are. Apps like Pinterest? They tell a story of who we aspire to be. Instagram? It keeps us in the (highly manipulated) moment.
But aside from what you see on accounts built on stealing material (they know who they are), there’s no wrong way to Instagram. Despite its popularity, it doesn’t seem like an app that’s gotten pretentious in the wake of its demand. If your feed is entirely kittens, that’s your call. If you’re all decor, all the time, that’s great for you. Which is why I think we love it so much — despite its popularity boom, it’s never stopped being the evolution of disposable cameras; a documentation of what life looks like in that particular moment. There’s room to be creative or brand-oriented or just straight-up narcissistic — so basically, Instagram is still Instagram.
Its success and sustainability relies on the space it gives its users. And space is great. Space is why yesterday I Instagrammed my nails and also my weird, lazy, judgemental cat, and why I intend on Instagramming my outfit today if I’m into it. It’s also probably why millions of users have picked Instagram up and propped it up on their shoulders like that scene in Rudy everyone always talks about. We’re a generation defined by “I do what I want!” and instead of Instagram telling us what it wants, it’s stood back and said, “Cool.”
Which, of course, is why it still is.
To celebrate Instagram’s fifth birthday, browse the gallery below and look back at its most memorable moments.
The post A love letter to Instagram in honour of its fifth birthday (+ the app’s most memorable moments) appeared first on FASHION Magazine.