June 26, 2013
“Instagram Video and the Death of Fantasy”
Products sell people a better version of themselves, and Instagram is a highlight reel. It’s not about photography; it’s about getting liked. Photos are just the vessel by which people exchange affirmation.
In the NYT Jenna Wortham thoughtfully considers how video punctures the fantasy-bubbles that Instagram photos create:
But while that shaky video that I took on the roof was definitely steeped in reality and definitely true to the moment, it wasn’t the version of the night that I wanted to remember or share with my Instagram friends.
That’s because Instagram isn’t about reality – it’s about a well-crafted fantasy, a highlights reel of your life that shows off versions of yourself that you want to remember and put on display in a glass case for other people to admire and browse through. It’s why most of the photographs uploaded to Instagram are beautiful and entertaining slices of life and not the tedious time in-between of those moments, when bills get paid, cranky children are put to bed, little spats with friends.
If you want facts & figures to back this up, here are a bunch.
Can technology make people feel more comfortable sharing their videos? Maybe. In many cases it’s by moving the goal posts—simply reducing what’s possible (and thus what can be expected) to the point that people say “Well I could do that.” (Cue the old “Lowered Expectations” jingle.)
I wonder whether (or when) Instagram & Vine will let people upload video from their camera rolls. Omitting that feature certainly made it easier to get to market (as they could eliminate features for trimming, sizing, etc.), but there’s another key difference: Insisting that video be captured via the apps limits the content to things you yourself captured. Thus your feeds can’t (yet) become dumping grounds for whatever animated GIF people have found.
We shall see.
Photography: Google takes on the Burj Khalifa
Here’s a neat use of Google’s backpack-mounted, spherical-photo-capturing rigs. The Next Web writes,
Without venturing anywhere near the United Arab Emirates, you can explore the world’s tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, dangle from the building’s maintenance units on the 80th floor (which are reserved for cleaning windows, apparently), and also visit the highest occupied floor in the world, on floor number 163.
It’s funny: I’m reminded of the QuickTime VR (hey, remember that?) projects we did circa 1996. I thought that spherical panos were brilliant, but they fell into disuse for years. I never anticipated that they’d reemerge & prove so common, even mundane, all these years later.