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    n 1 | 1/13/20 | 46 min
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    • bartadamley
      Scout
      10 months ago

      Holy shit. The amount that this article reasonates in this day-and-age is unbelievable. I truly enjoyed the authors' example of breaking down what ads were catered to them on their instagram feeds... quite the curious research study to conduct with our peers. As really diving into these platforms mechanics is such an important thing to do nowadays.

      A quote I enjoyed from the article that made me empathize with the reading was "before long, I was looking at a lot of people I'd never met and never intended to."

      It can be incredibly hard to drop individuals you have been following, it almost feels as though you are cancelling them as a person/insulting them.. which is such a strange phenomenon to experience.

      All in all, really great article and thanks for sharing.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        10 months ago

        Excellent. Big upvote for the quote you found:

        "before long, I was looking at a lot of people I'd never met and never intended to."

        It's a perfect way to describe the downward slide you feel as you use social media. At the beginning, the value is real, tangible, and the overall exchange feels fair, because, basically, it is. Beer's fun too. Until it's not. (Drugs, sex, violence - it's all the same.) Addiction always begins with a connection to something real, something fun, something that adds value to your life. But it's the "before long" part. Whoa. That's where you recognize the diminishing returns, but, out of habit (versus intention) the will to stop is outweighed by the convenience and pleasure of one more go. Again and again and again.

        On the one hand, talking about social media is superficial and shallow. On the other hand, many of the deepest, most profound conversations in my life have been attempts at figuring out the great mystery of this age: Wtf is the internet doing to us? To our brains? To our relationships? It's beyond fascinating.

        • thorgalle9 months ago

          Interesting take on addiction!

      • thorgalle9 months ago

        It can be incredibly hard to drop individuals you have been following, it almost feels as though you are cancelling them as a person/insulting them.. which is such a strange phenomenon to experience.

        Thanks for pinpointing that peculiar feeling :)

        I sometimes feel the same when I hear things like "Oh did you see that Instagram post of [some common friend] yesterday?!...". Since I haven't been regularly active on IG for a year or so, the answer is always "well, no". It can briefly feel as if I'm not a good friend because I'm not following my friends' fun stories (every day). I'm actually missing some things.

        But then again, I stopped scrolling to avoid falling into some of the traps that were exposed in the article. In the end, I haven't "lost" any friends because of this. Following, commenting and liking is (luckily) not necessary for good friendships.

    • erica9 months ago

      Whoa, I just read two books that perfectly relate to this article. Susan Sontag wrote On Photography in 1975, but so much of it seems to be about Instagram. For example:

      Technology made possible an ever increasing spread of that mentality which looks at the world as a set of potential photographs.

      Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted.

      In Permanent Record, Edward Snowden primarily writes about the mass surveillance system built by the NSA, but he also mentions that technology companies use our data to advertise to us. I love this from the article:

      But what is there to say? We know it, we know it, we know it. Still we keep scrolling, deeper down the well of our bottomless need.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        9 months ago

        Excellent. My take on “What is there to say?” A lot. Many people are (1) working on solutions and (2) making more ethical and intelligent media consumption decisions. I do both, as a complete way of life! ;)

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      10 months ago

      All hail Alexa! This essay bent my mind for hours. Great find.

      So many incredible sentences, including:

      Leaving Twitter for Instagram was like moving to Los Angeles, only cheaper.

      “Literally just cleaned Parmesan cheese out of toddlers vagina.”

      “I look nice and smug in this photo,” said a popular woman powerlifter I liked, “but I’m considering making a YouTube video about my recent nervous breakdown/identity crisis.”

      This is brilliant:

      New storefronts and restaurants were likewise optimized for the image. Considerations like comfort, accessibility, and acoustics were secondary to visual appeal. It was as if the landscape itself had dysmorphia, altering its physical appearance to fit an arbitrary standard that undermined its primary function.

      Anyone who has ever used Airbnb knows exactly what the author is describing: a world made to look better than it actually is, for photos.

      How was this even possible, this eternal volley between mimesis and life, mimesis and life, through which you could discover a stranger who felt like a friend, but a friend from whom you needed nothing?

      Poetry!

      • Alexa
        Scout
        10 months ago

        hahaha! I had so many similar responses to what I guess can be categorized as "zingers". I had never heard of the author before but this but she is a new fave. Forever on the hunt for pieces like this.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          10 months ago

          The title itself is a zinger: "My instagram"

          I want to write my own "My instagram"

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          10 months ago

          The new Scout motto:

          Forever on the hunt

    • Alexa
      Scout
      10 months ago

      I'd give this one an 11 if I could. Her writing style here gives me Jia vibes, personal anecdotes mixed with pop culture & analysis and sharp wit.

      She writes about embracing Instagram as a non-toxic alternative to Twitter only to find the image-driven platform comes with its own problems. From fitness accounts driving dysmorphia, to the unseeable, big data targeted, differences in the ads each of us are served.

      Most striking is her description of an agoraphobic Instagram artist who takes photos from Google street view:

      I found it pernicious and thought about it for days. The message was benign  —  technology connects you to the world  —  but I couldn’t shake the subtext: that if Google and Instagram had an ideal user, it might be a creative person who could not, would not, leave her home.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        10 months ago

        Yes. I loved the agoraphobic Instagram artist anecdote. I wonder what it must have been like to be at that art opening to see her in person. Disturbing. Gives me shivers.

        Also, the instagram bug was pure dystopian sci-fi. The text is sublimely poetic:

        Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text Image may contain: 1 person, close up Image may contain: night, sky and outdoor Image may contain: 1 or more people, people sitting, shoes and indoor

        That's not a bug. A human did that. Obviously. And now I really want to know more about who did that, and how, and why.

        • Alexa
          Scout
          10 months ago

          I know, I wondered how Google got her there with the agoraphobia. For a moment I imagined they'd Edward Snowden her in with an iPad and a robot.

          2nd that on wanting the story behind the "bug". Perhaps to show us our own big brother and to laugh at the madness of the outcry it raised from people who * gasp * couldn't see their feed and were reduced to observing it all from a bots eye view.