Is it time we boycott 'Instagramability'?
Last year we wrote about shareability and how brands can often benefit from creating 'Instagrammable' moments. However, almost two years later, we are revisiting this notion and asking the question - Is ‘Instagramability’ shaping our world, and are we soon to regret it?
Once a novelty, pink lattes, ‘grammable interiors and artistic tile flooring were a sign of a brand ahead of the curve. Brands who created shareable experiences attracted customers keen to buy into instagrambility and document their lifestyle.
However, two years later shareable moments are commonplace. Slogan takeout coffee cups, ball pit bath tubs and ‘press for prosecco’ buttons have swamped eateries, hotels, galleries and shops across the world. What was once a unique rarity, could now even be considered ‘basic’ or unoriginal.
Now, cafes are being commissioned, architecture is being designed and brands are being founded on the basis of shareability.
Our world is being shaped by Instagram and this begs the question, is our culture being tainted and history being shaped by Instagram? Will we look back in years to come and question the authenticity of our recent creations? Is shareability and Instagramability just a fad?
We already know that ‘unplugging’ is a growing trend. Digital detoxes and #nophonedays are becoming increasingly popular. Is this an insight into a changing culture and upcoming trend... and how will this affect brands built on digital shareability? Will this lead to these brands soon being seen as ‘try hard’, unauthentic or tasteless?
We are not resistant to shareability. We’ve picked restaurants, booked holidays and attended art museums solely because of what we’ve seen on Instagram. We’ve headed to specific destinations with the exact photo for ‘the gram’ in mind. However, many times have we been the victim of an ‘Instagram catfish’ - a phrase we’ve coined for when the reality of a destination doesn't live up to the expectation set on Instagram. More times than we'd like to admit have we trekked across a foreign town, head down on Google Maps, searching for the Instagrammable rooftop terrace we've found via geotags, only to be disappointed upon arrival.
Instagram creates a fake reality and allows brands and places to create an unrealistic image of services or experiences, leading to customer dissatisfaction and fuelling inauthenticity. Not living up to the ‘Instagram shop window’ can lead to poor TripAdvisor reviews and negative world of mouth. Take Elan for example. This famously floral cafe has almost 400k followers on Instagram, yet just an average of 3 stars on TripAdvisor, with more than half of all reviewers rating the cafe as below average. This London based cafe’s experience doesn't live up to the expectation its Instagramability has created.
Shareability is creating inauthentic and unrealistic experiences often causing us to waste our money (and time) on shallow brands with little heartfelt legacy. It fuels the argument, is Instagramability creating sub-standard customer experiences? Is it shaping our world and culture for the worse? With brands all creating similar styles and experiences, are we jeopardising character and uniqueness on the high street, in our galleries and at our local restaurant plazas? We’re heading to places for the photos, not for heartfelt food or delicious ingredients.
Is it time we boycott shareability in a bid to preserve authenticity and originality?
Read our article on why authenticity is the holy grail on social media, and how to get it right.