Gen Z is frustrated with Instagram because of its inauthenticity and format and wants to make Instagram a casual photo-sharing app again.
Instagram is definitely Gen Z’s most preferred social media app but it has been succumbing to a lot of outrage recently, there are a couple of reasons for this. There has been a lot of talk amongst Gen Z to make Instagram ‘casual again.’ Back in the day when Instagram was launched, there was no concern about posting the perfect picture. Whether it was a meal that you cooked or a beautiful sunset that you clicked a photo of and immediately posted, Instagram then, was spontaneous, fun and real. Slowly over time, it started becoming an app that showcased the highlight reel of people’s life.
Can you post a photo on your Instagram just as it is? Without the perfect angle, filter and hours of editing? Probably not. Instagram has now become a manufactured version of our lives. By the time 2016 rolled around the concept of Instagram changed and got poisoned by fabrication and fraudulence. Flawless selfies, designer outfits, vacation photos, and sponsored posts started flooding our feeds. It took away the authenticity of the app and made it all about negative social comparison and misleading people. Facebook research itself shows how toxic Instagram can be for young girls. Not just them but all vulnerable teens and young adults are being impacted by it. And that is why they want Instagram to be casual again.
What GenZ means by ‘casual’ Instagram is that users should stop caring and stressing out about what they’re posting and just post whatever makes them happy without overthinking. And that means posting mundane things and not just the best parts of their life. A lot of younger people have hopped onto this trend by posting photo dumps and rejecting the norms of how Instagram posts should be. Photo dumps classify as low-resolution photos as compared to the high-quality photos we’re used to seeing on the feeds of influencers. They usually convey a particular vibe and are of a similar theme. People on the app are slowly moving on from good-quality photos to posting messy candid moments. This new trend is celebrity-approved as well. If you would scroll and see someone like Bella Hadid’s feed you would see how she uses the carousel post feature to post random photos. Photos of her food, some unglamorous selfies, snaps of hers just living life.
Just like her, a lot of younger people including stars like Janhvi Kapoor and influencers like Devon Lee Carlson are opting for this more relatable sort of feed. They are starting to become the favoured aesthetic amongst the GenZ, with young people throwing around the slogan “make Instagram casual again”. But we must remember that planned authenticity is not authenticity. Even these casual photos are just another constructed aesthetic, they are well-curated glimpses that just look unpretentious and relaxed. Some users do argue that casual Instagram is more unauthentic as the user is trying to convince their followers that their photos are casual, even if they’re not.
Besides the fakeness and toxicity of the app, GenZ has another problem with it, Adam Mosseri, the Instagram chief posted a video to his account on the 26th of July that caused a lot of concern within the Instagram community, he said “more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.” Ever since then, headlines like “Instagram is over” has been trending. The reason for this outrage is that Instagram is straying away from what it was initially, a photo-sharing app. And is now heading in the same direction as its counterpart, TikTok.
A petition, “make Instagram Instagram again”, has been launched and shared by big names like Kylie Jenner who has previously been linked to Snapchat losing $1.3Billion in shares after she suggested in a post that Snapchat is over. Her post about Instagram definitely did get a lot of attention. The hashtag “make Instagram great again” has over 7.9k posts. With all of the backlash and petitions only, time will tell how Instagram tries to redeem itself to the youth or if another social media platform will take over.
Featured Image Courtesy: @illumitati/ig. Hero Image Courtesy: Kerde Severin