Thoughts


I'm not on Instagram

I don’t use Instagram and this post answers why. I have been asked this question several times at several occassions. So, I thought why not save some time and write a post where I could direct them to. Most of them won’t read this completely and that is the point.

There are more than one reasons.

It eats up my time

I clap with an angry face here for what Mark has achieved. Using Instagram is so easy and seamless. You think you are just seeing your friend’s pics till the bus arrives, only to realize you missed the bus because you were on instagram. The addictive component is so good that it’s bad.

Short form content

It’s ironic that I say this because I love twitter which is notorious for short-form written content (not after Elon entered). It is basically Tiktok for text-form content. But text is not as enticing as edited flashy pictures. I have to read and comprehend to understand the text to get some dopamine. It’s also very difficult to be entice someone with text. How beautiful can you make the font? Add serifs? Perhaps the content could be made juicier, but such content is easy to weed out.

Tiktok is different. It’s dangerously more addictive. Do you remember the books you used to read as a kid? They had all the colors and fonts. Tiktok is just like that but with music, animations, images, videos, and endless stream of dopamine served in small chunks. It reminds me of the old arcade casino games.

Instagram picked all these “qualities” from Tiktok and pushed more videos turning it into a tiktok.

Lack of depth

Twitter is great because you have to message under 180 characters.Now X (formerly twitter) allows long form content. This means you have to remove umms and ahs before posting. You have to be more articulate and cryptic. This makes reading them equally difficult. Now the reader has to decrypt and understand what you wrote in those 180 characters. Believe me there are tweets I took hours to understand if not days. They lack context. Eric Jorgenson wrote a whole book Almanack of Naval Ravikant from Naval’s tweets.

Instagram prefers pictures and videos for posts. And arguably,

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Thus, Instagram should ideally be more cryptic and have depth to explore. But, I don’t agree with the above quote. I prefer:

A painting is worth a thousand words.

The difference is of intentions. Every thing in a painting is intentionally included by the painter, unlike the photos. It may mean a thousand words. Intended pictures, in that way are also art pieces like paintings and sculptures. But not an average heavily-edited instagram post. They are easy to create and post. Nevertheless, they serve a medium to explore things that you can delve deeper later.

Mimesis is a bi*ch:

If comparison is the thief of joy, Instagram is the enabler.

It creates an endless environment of comparison among peers. Winning is not difficult though. To compete on LinkedIn, you may have to finish a course or do a summer internship, but on Instagram you can simply edit your pictures, add some filters, throw some light and there you have your “perfect instagram-worthy” photo. The comparison is not only between you and your peers, but also between you and your “instagram filtered self”.

There is enough research done to prove how harmful Instagram is because of comparison and mimetic lifestyle it enables so easily. Effects range from addiction, body image issues, cyberbullying to depression.

Just like Chatgpt created fake comments, emails, and content so prevelant. Instagram features create a fake world. It’s not a surprise how from editing our photos to look perfect, has led us to editing AI generated pics to look more like us. The border is deminishing.

Finsta and Rinsta effect

It’s not uncommon for individuals to have multiple accounts. Many Instagram users have a Rinsta and a Finsta account. Rinsta account (stands for Real Insta a/c) is public and focuses on positive and edited content, aiming to present a desirable self-image. While the Finsta account (Fake Insta) is mostly private and used for more emotional and personal content.

The funny thing is Finsta, despite being called “Fake” allows for a more authentic self, where users can express humor, authenticity, and “unfiltered” self-expression. In contrast, the “Real” Rinsta account presents a more socially desirable amd “fake” self-image to a larger audience.

// I plan to post my unedited pictures here in my visual journal if you wish to see.

Further Readings

Getting High

“I don’t drink” — A thing I say a lot at parties.

Apparently, even if you have a coke in your hand, you have to say “you don’t drink” as opposed to saying “I don’t drink alchohol”. As if drinking anything other than alchohol is not drinking.

Pop culture and its [[ adoption of words ]] has always bothered me. But this one annoys me a little more than usual. Enough to make me write a post about it.

I love to get high

This bothers others more than alchohol has ever bothered me. It’s difficult for them to fathom how can someone get high without drinking, smoking, or using drugs? I mean it’s literally the dictionary definition of getting high, isn’t it?

When I say “I love to get high”, what I mean is feeling similar emotions as one would feel when one is intoxicated. I asked my friends what they feel when they are high, or just drunk. They tell me how they feel and I tell them I have experienced it.

When they further inquire how I reached that state, they get dissapointed by my answer — and perhaps you shall too. I already apologize.

##

The French poet Charles Baudelaire writes:

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

In a much different tone, author John Green says:

[…] nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.

The word — “Beautiful”

If you know me, you must know that I love [[ words ]] and what role they play in the world.

I once wrote

“words are not worlds
except for in your poems”
they tell him
using words.

“words are the worlds”
he replies
if not,
they are lies.

I [[ play with the rules ]] and often create new words myself. It’s not a shocker that I would try to find the perfect word to express something, but one word that I overuse everywhere is — Beautiful!

Everything is “Beautiful”

I use this word to appreciate everything.

  • You are a beautiful soul.
  • You have a beautiful voice.
  • Your thoughts are so beautiful.
  • Your childhood must be beautiful.
  • Hey, don’t worry! The match would be beautiful.

You may have noticed using the word “beautiful” this way is beyond appropriate. All the adjectives in my dictionary must be planning to kill me listening to me.

On the cozy web, who are you?

In the last 6 months, I’ve stepped away from typical social media sites and turned towards cozy web spaces. The [[ cozy web ]] is the name for the areas of the internet where you interact with others but are largely safe from uninvited eyes, like ad trackers, trolls, and the general public. It was originally coined by Venkatesh Rao.

Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit are not cozy web, but the following are:

  • Slack communities
  • Discord servers
  • Whatsapp groups

Something I’ve noticed about these spaces is that the question Who are you? is answered very differently than on social media.

On the cozy web, it’s not enough to glean who your interlocutors are through their profiles alone. Other than an avatar and a display name, cozy web profiles offer very little information about that person. In order to get a real feel for who someone is, you need to actually see them interacting repeatedly over a period of time – how do they type? What do they say? What reacts do they use? Identity is developed actively, and over time.

This is the opposite of sites like Instagram or Twitter. The whole point of those is that everything you’ve said or posted is cemented into a bundle of “who you are”, ready for anyone to stalk for years to come and devoid of all context in which it was posted.

On the cozy web, for anyone to develop any sense of who you are, you have to actually participate in conversation – but you’re also not necessarily beholden to everything you’ve said in the last few years. And on the flip side, if you only ever lurk, you never quite develop an identity. (This can also be said for traditional social media, though.)

Identity as brand

The other thing about cozy web spaces is that brands don’t live there (unless it’s a space made by the brand, for the brand). Corporate content doesn’t get mixed with layperson content: you don’t interact with corporations, you don’t consume a cool piece of content only to discover its a sponsored post. There’s no careful crafting of brand identity by professionals, whether it’s for a corporate or personal account – it just doesn’t make sense to invest in.

Does this mean that cozy web presence is more authentic than social media presence?