Instagram and Path

Instagram seems to start with the oft-quoted recommendation for writers, "show, don't tell." It seems to want to make our biggest decision the answer to, "what hipster filter best defines you and this picture today, dear user?" It takes the Tumblr approach: I am a scrolling stream of pictures, therefore I am. It encourages disposability by making everything a moment to be glanced at for a second, to be something to be given a silly ironic filter (it's not a boring park bench I saw, it's a boring park bench in sepia.)

It's a bridesmaid's dress. Someone loved it intensely for one day, then tossed it. Like a Christmas tree — so special, then, bam — it's abandoned on the side of the road, tinsel still clinging to it. Like sex crime victims, underwear inside-out, bound with electrical tape.

- Fight Club

Well, we're humans. We're more than just walking eyes. We have mouths and minds too. We want to show AND tell. Photography pretends it can only be about capturing a moment, but no one ever said why? A picture is worth a thousand words, but maybe only a few hundred if can you write well. Will I read a hundred words? Sure, if it's someone I care about and they don't write ten times a day. Will it take away from me consuming thousands of people's pictures I don't care about and will forget about two seconds later? Hopefully.

Since when did we become so cold to our friends that we didn't even want to bother to read a few words from them about their pictures or their day (blogs)? I suppose Twitter was supposed to solve these problems, but I find it hard to see why Twitter is any less user-hostile than RSS. Facebook solves everything, but the cost of solving everything is you solve everything poorly.