When the object of your affection changes, are you still obliged to love it?
I’ve always been a fan of photography. More than taking pictures, I enjoy looking at photos taken by others. For me, it’s fascinating to look at the world through somebody else’s eyes, and pictures allow you to do that.
That’s why back in 2012, when I found out that there was a phone app where you could look at other people’s pics, I downloaded it immediately. When I posted my first picture in November 2012, Instagram had been “on the line” for two years. I started following a few of my friends and family, but became truly hooked when I saw I could follow celebrities; actors and musicians that I loved so much, I could peek into their lives through the pictures they shared.
I found photographers, foodies and travelers, people involved in fitness, people with my same interests and I followed them all. I started opening my life to complete strangers through pictures of everything and nothing. Liking and commenting in other people’s post became a must, and it was exciting to receive likes and comments from people I didn’t know. The first time one of my beloved celebrities liked one of my posts I was elated for the most part of the day. By then, people were already posting selfies, some of them adorned with a duck face. Group selfies, and selfies from vacations or events didn’t bother me. Selfies for selfies sake? I found those obnoxious. I still do. Despite the fact, they were still pictures, many of them worth a like, and they provided an interesting view on how others saw themselves.
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Then in 2013, Instagram started accepting video. At the time, they were only 30 seconds long, enough to have a taste of something, which was good when that taste was from a concert, a comedy clip or an awesome fitness skill. But give people a taste and they want the whole plate. My feed started filling with more videos than pics which, for me, was annoying. For the first time since I downloaded the app, I saw myself skipping posts. I jumped on the wagon, posting a few videos here and there, but I started to feel the disappointment.
Since Facebook is behind Instagram, it was only a matter of time for ads to popup. And they did in 2015. I remember seeing a post in my feed that belonged to none of the people I followed. “What the f...” but my question was answered by the word “Sponsored” under the account's name. “You gotta be kidding me!” was the thought that followed, while closing the app without checking the rest of my feed. I opened it back up immediately, of course, quietly cursing to the Instagram’s powers-that- be every time an ad slipped through my careful selection of images.
One fateful day in 2016, the people behind the app decided that they knew more about what I liked than I did, so they changed the ordering of the posts based on a “proven strategy” that would prioritize certain pictures over others, instead of showing them from old to new. Never mind that I was used to search for the very last picture I saw in my previous visit and go from there to the very first one on the feed, so I didn’t miss anything. Never mind that with that change, I started getting some of the posts one or two days later. Never mind that now I don’t get to see pics from people I follow because the algorithm decided that they are not good enough for me to see. And never mind that now, if I interact with a picture, everyone that follows me and that other account sees the interaction front and center.
Get the source of my frustration? At this point, I should have ended the relationship but I didn’t. I should have closed my account or uninstalled the app. Instead, I continue to browse through it, every day, religiously, expressing my annoyance through tight-locked lips, disregarding its faults, as one does with a loved one.
Why? Because despite all its flaws, I still enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of others. I love to see the concerts, and the backstage parties, the vacations, the mud runs and comic cons, the day to day and the special occasions. I love to see how regardless of how close or far we are, whether we are strangers or family, if we speak the same or different languages, there is always something that brings us together, something that we share, that makes us connect, with a like, a comment or a follow.
Now, regarding Facebook… where do we start?
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