Tag Archives: social media
A few days ago I set up an Instagram account for the first time ever. Everybody else seemed to be using it, I thought, so why not me?
I haven’t been happy so far. I’m so focused on settings and problems that I haven’t looked around much to see what other people are posting.
1. There’s no official Instagram app in the iPad App Store. Eventually I discovered they didn’t make one! We can only use the iPhone app with no way of forcing it to work in landscape view. Viewing it in portrait mode is unnatural and uncomfortable, so I don’t spend long doing that.
2. I can use Instagram from the mobile browser, but it’s spartan. There are things I can’t do unless I switch to the uncomfortable sideways app.
3. Nobody seems to like the way the feed works any more. People complain that the same posts they’ve already seen and commented on hang around for days on end. There’s no logic to it and you can’t target your viewing unless you visit each Instagram friend individually.
4. You can’t hide your follower lists from anyone following you.
The real kicker, though — the most mind-bendingly crass thing — is the way it notifies people you know (mainly Facebook friends) that you have just opened an Instagram account. This happens to some degree even if you didn’t use your Facebook sign-in. As soon as I created mine, it suggested I follow various Facebook friends. I’m quite sure they could see me too, even if they happened not to receive a direct notification.
This isn’t what I want. Even if I jump through hoops trying to keep my Instagram account anonymous, I wouldn’t be able to fully trust it, because who really knows how these social media sites work? Are you sure you understand all the ins and outs, who-can-sees, and who-can’ts?
I feel like a fly floating on the surface of a big pond with very little understanding of how things work and almost no say over my visibility. I’m simply not a fan of this idea!
It’s not that I really care if family and acquaintances can see the uninspiring photos and pictures I come up with, but I feel held back. If I was in a mood and ‘liked’ a grumpy quotation, those who have closer ties to me would wonder if I was grumping at them and what the issue was!
Socializing would be a lot less fun if you had to worry all the time about who was privy to what. Your rabid SNP cousin might blow his top if he knew your political views, which is exactly why you don’t talk politics to him but might to someone else.
Or perhaps this is the idea… we all have to have very bland, politically-correct conversations that don’t move too far from the weather?
I made my Instagram account private but am considering closing it altogether because I can’t see myself using it. I felt confused from the start… “what do I post here? Family stuff or arty, self-expressive stuff?” I considered setting up a second, more private account, then realized anonymity isn’t guaranteed anyway.
These big companies may say, even believe, that they have opened up the internet, simplified it, made it easier, automated everything and connected everybody, but in fact they are closing down the ways you can productively, safely, freely and confidently use it. Everything’s so automated and ‘smart’ and omniscent that it’s out of each user’s control exactly who can see what you’ve posted and where, and I’m sure this has already led to problems for many people.
You wonder what’s the point of having these different forums anyway, if they’re all interlinked to the degree that you can follow one person from Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest to…? It seems like too much bother; just amalgamate the lot into one single interface! One App to Rule Them All.
Instagram might have been fun on its own. I could have got used to the square format and would enjoy creating the right kind of images. Unfortunately social media communicates *too* much on our behalf, and we no longer know what we’re doing. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Looking around for inspiration, I see sun glancing off the tops of shrubs and hedges outside the window — gold light and glossy leaves. That tree gets closer to the house year by year. Four years ago the council was requested to remove it, but it’s still there. Upstairs, it looks as though I could shake hands with it — the two of us stretching across the gap between window and hedge. Well, I would die trying… the gap is close, but not that close.
My original aim was to write about Tumblr, and here I am complaining about a tree that’s near, yet far. Yes, Tumblr, I said. Is this old hat now, or still going strong?
I’ve only just joined, and don’t yet know what I think. There’s something strange about the way its search engines and feeds work. Mine moves sluggishly, occasionally throwing up reblogs by big rebloggers reblogging content most of us couldn’t hope to match. This perfect content gets a little samey… fantasy concepts; gorgeous heroines with oiled thighs; mechanowarriors; impossibly neat Gothic castles; sunset on the ice of faraway worlds. They don’t post warmer, more homely content — and if they do, it’s by accident, and you can almost hear them scream.
I won’t tell you how I know that. (Coughs).
I’ve only been there a few days though. Most likely I haven’t yet discovered the little tips and tricks that make it work. Sponsored ads have started appearing. When I was brand new, they held off, but it seems I’m not to be cosseted any more. Then there was a spammy ‘ask me’ message. Someone wanted votes on something, but I gave that a miss… didn’t think clicking on the Bitly URL was a great idea.
Something I really don’t like is an overt political bias which has been intruding onto my main feed, even though I haven’t followed any political tags. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth, which is not what one goes to Tumblr for… at least, I don’t.
Of my new followers, one appears to be a bot of some sort, another has a vacant blog (no content yet), and a third is selling something. My favourite follower is the bot, because it posts things for me to look at in the slow-moving Tumblr feed, none of it mean or political.
Yes, there’s always the silver lining, and it came up with this painting — beautiful and dreamlike. For such as that, I’ll keep going.