Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joining the Instagram Generation One Step at a Time

It wouldn't be right to have preteens in 2014 without having to hear the word (words?) Instagram.  Instagram - IG for short - is the primary mode of communication for adolescents in this day in age.  While celebrities and "wannabe" models use IG to their advantage in the most obvious way, kids will use this app as the central tool of their communication.  I have to admit that this phenomenon is interesting, but its also amusing for several reasons. 

Before we get to the interesting parts, I have to admit that I have an IG account.  I first signed up because some Internet guru told me that it was a good idea as a new social media outlet.  What ended up happening though is par for the course.  No one was interested in buying products or services from my Instagram account or because I had an Instagram account.  I guess the fact that I did not take any pictures contributed to my social media failure.  And once Google started to crack down on link generation, I deleted my account.  Or at least I think I did.  Nevertheless, I partake in IG vicariously, looking at C's and G's accounts when they go to bed.  Pretty mundane stuff to look at (they are just 12 and 10, respectively), but it gives me an insight into their lives - a secret life that they want to keep hidden from me and their Mother.  

Anyway, on to my favorite parts of IG...

1.  The FOMO quotient is off the charts.  "Fear of Missing out" is HUGE on IG.  Everyone is posting pictures of the fun times they are having, or the fun times that they had before.  They tag each other and then in the comments those who are not tagged, ask to be tagged.  If you aren't in the picture, in my mind at least, you should not be tagged.

2.  Another funny thing is the concept of a "like."  Instead of commenting (well except in asking to be tagged - see 1 above), people will like a photo.  If one does not get enough likes, then they delete the post.  Why post something to just to take it down a couple of hours later because only 54 people liked your photo.   And don't you dare like too many photos of kids that you don't know that well.  You will likely get burned or made fun of.

3.  Speaking of posts, one should not post too many times.  Don't you dare post twice in a night and if you do, you have to have a really, really good reason.  Even young adults make excuses for why they make more than one post.  Again, you will get burned by those trolls who notice that you post more than once in 24 hours and will comment on it.  Oh the irony.  (See 2 above).  And yes I am speaking as a parent-lurker.

4.  While the majority of IG post are pictures, some are videos.  Generally the longer the video, or the fact that the post is a video in the first place, the more likely that it is just not that interesting.  The sports and entertainment videos are merely rehashes from Sports Center or Entertainment Tonight and when the boys are watching them in the car, I guarantee that they will hear the words "stop with the data, wait until we get home to watch that video." come out of my mouth.

5.  Everyone on IG did the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? And everyone put a video up about it.  (See 4 above) If you asked my kids or their friends what the Ice Bucket challenge was, the words charity, giving and Pete Frates with NOT come up. 

6.  The begging is off the charts.  Begging for likes, begging for followers, begging for a tag, begging to be invited places.  Maybe charity is appropriate (See 5 above).

7.  You have to follow the right people.  You have to follow cool kids.  You can't follow the wrong people or the Juvenile Delinquents.  After a certain amount of time, you have to clear out people you are following so you can gain more IG cred by having more followers than those they are following.

I could go on and on.  But I don't want to seem like more of a lurker than I really am.  Now let me go so I can troll some people on my Twitter account.

'drops mike'

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