While I wouldn’t consider myself a social media guru, I undoubtedly have spent more than enough time on the various platforms to have some quasi-meaningful insights and observations about them. So after the countless hours spent promoting events and poking fun at my single girl status, I’ve decided that Instagram is the one. And I think it’s getting serious. For those of you who don’t know me well, I loathe Facebook, so to be touting the praises of an app owned by them, in a public forum no less, is bordering on cataclysmic. But I’ve definitely come to my love for Instagram honest, having grown from mere curiosity and harmless flirtation to mutual respect and profound admiration.
It wasn’t long after begrudgingly setting up my IG profile at the suggestion of a friend that I began to notice the differences between the two, and, quite unexpectedly, actually like them. Unlike Twitter, IG seems designed to allow the user to appreciate what’s been posted without any real need for or expectation of interaction. For a casual Twitter user, that’s not a huge deal. But as someone who wants to (and at one time, did!) respond to each and every comment on her tweets, it was essentially a full time job without the paycheck. Which was fine for the year I was unemployed. But once I got an actual full time job, it became increasingly more difficult to engage and be engaging with friends and followers. I tried to maintain a Twitter presence, but the Gram’s lure drew me in deeper and deeper. Before I knew it, I had fallen hard, exclusively posting pictures on IG and only occasionally linking those posts to my Twitter.
Instagram also requires less cerebral activity. As someone who expends an inordinate amount of energy thinking (and overthinking), this characteristic is incredibly appealing. There’s no character limit within which one must cram her wittiest of thoughts on politics, raising kids or the latest episode of Game of Thrones. OK, we all know most of my tweets involve booze, silly text exchanges and general shenanigans, but they seemed a bit incongruous to pair with “cerebral.” While I often welcomed the challenge of crafting tweets within those space constraints about innuendo-laden convos with my besties, and looked forward to the banter which would ensue, sometimes I just wanted to post a T&A pic and take a damn nap. IG lets me do that.
It’s also a happier place, with five times the amount of make-me-pretty filters to throw on your latest selfie to dogs being basic AF. That happiness is also due in large part to the fact that most cellar-dwelling, mouth-breathing, trolls seem to avoid the Gram, presumably a result of the dearth of porn GIFs compared to the Twatter. And when they do happen to s-troll over and try to cause a ruckus, their close-minded, misogynistic and down-right nonsensical comments are easily deleted with the simplest of left swipes. (Hmmm, I wonder if that update was a pilfer from Tinder?!). So when I’m not in the mood to go troll hunting, Instagram’s delete option is a fantastic fall-back to keeping my profile mostly upbeat and fun.
Almost as bad as the basement dweller is the subtweeter, and subtweets abound in the Twitterverse. I certainly have availed myself of the subtweet on occasion – I mean, how better to let the turd who broke your heart know that he’s a turd than with a vitriolic meme accompanied by some equally caustic hashtags. But my subtweets are like a kindergartner’s crayon-scribbled stick figure family compared to the Picasso portraits of the expert subtweeter. Sometimes I like to grab some popcorn and just watch them go at it, knowing eventually they’ll go too far and an all-out war will be waged. One of my personal favorites is watching the “cool kids” of Twitter derive pleasure from vilifying others for doing exactly what made the cool kids “cool” in the first place. And as if that weren’t entertaining enough, they then tweet so indignantly, with eyeroll emojis and all, at the audacity of people thinking the subtweet was about them, that in the process they essentially confirm that the subtweet was actually about them after all. These subtweeters are like that person who talks shit about you to someone she doesn’t realize is actually your friend, and when confronted, sheepishly tries to pass it off as a joke. It wasn’t a joke, bitch. Good luck with that karma thing. On the other hand, you have to do something pret-ty egregious to be “subgrammed” – except date me apparently…but I digress.
But there are some issues Gram needs to work on if this relationship is going to go the distance. I’m a creeper. I like to peruse what my friends (read: the penis-owning variety) have been up to during their online time – you know, to see which funny dog GIFs they liked and shit. IG offers very few options to feed that need compared to the stalker’s paradise that is Twitter. All joking aside, so much of the cool stuff I’ve stumbled upon on Twitter has happened because a friend happened to stumble upon it before me; I know I miss a ton of stuff on IG and it makes me feel like a shitty cyberfriend. Twitter also helps me (almost) not forget birthdays since, well, I loathe Facebook, and am not organized enough to remember to update my calendars every year. I mean, I just flipped my desk calendar at work today from May and it’s the middle of July.
I also have a love-hate relationship with the messaging function of IG. Unlike Twitter, Instagram allows users to message other users even if they don’t follow each other. Despite the blogged-about comedic fodder my IG inbox generates, it is rather tedious to sort through all those random messages to determine if there’s, for example, a message from a seemingly harmless follower who took the time to say he enjoys the blog. I say “seemingly” of course because, well, you’ve met Johnson the peacock already. While Gram still gives me the option to decline the message with the sender none the wiser, if you saw all the little red bubbles all over my phone’s home screen, you’d understand how little I want to sift through all that dirt in the hopes of finding some nuggets of gold. It’s certainly not enough for me to break up with Gram – I mean, it’s pretty much the longest relationship I’ve had in 5 years. But it is definitely one of those quirks that you blissfully overlooked in the beginning that has become the equivalent of leaving the seat up.
While Twitter is like the neighborhood troublemaker who will likely end up doing a stint in juve-y, Instagram is Facebook’s edgier, wannabe bad ass older brother; it may look similar courtesy of genetics, but wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out with her at the mall food court on a Friday night. With the addition of live streams and disappearing images and videos, Instagram is fast becoming the one-stop shop for all your social media needs. But if it’s like the majority of my relationships, Gram won’t appreciate how dedicated a user it had until it’s hanging out with MySpace Tom wondering how they ended up at the mall food court instead of the homecoming dance.
Totally unrelated, but what’s the equivalent of a subtweet on WordPress? Asking for a friend.