Ruby Media Group CEO Kris Ruby was quoted in a feature story in The Atlantic called “Influencers are abandoning the Instagram look.”
Is the curated Instagram aesthetic dead?
Some say Instagram killed our museum culture while others say it reinvented it.
Instagram museums and pop-ups were never truly meant as a replacement for museums. They are a way to experience a new type of art— social media art.
Instagram museums are not dead- rather, the target audience for them shifted substantially. For example, look on the Instagram feed of family with young children and you will see loads of photos of them at an Instagram museum. Look on the feed of a millennial, however, and you won’t see as many photos of them at an Instagram museum. Why is this?
Because millennials and influencers are all looking to rack up likes and traffic- something a regular Instagram user isn’t as focused on. If a millennial can post a photo that virtually anyone else can post— it takes away from their Instagram and personal brand aesthetic.
There is only one exception to the rule- when media invites the influencers to experience these pop-ups or museums ahead of time, and the influencer has an adequate amount of time to take pictures that do not look as highly curated.
For example, at a recent Candytopia Instagram pop up in NYC, users only had a set amount of time to take photos in the fake marshmallow pit. These photos are fine for someone who is just posting regular family photos. However, if you are looking for a high quality photo to match your Instagram feed aesthetic, you may end up with the same photo hundreds of other Instagram users have already posted.
Additionally, there are people in the background of the photo, which is also something influencers don’t want if they are trying to get a unique photo.
When you actually try to take photos at these pop-ups, you see that it’s not as easy to get a great photo as you thought it would be.
How to create a curated Instagram feed aesthetic
The challenge is trying to keep up a color-coordinated theme with all of these backgrounds. To properly create a curated Instagram feed, everything needs to be planned weeks in advance, especially with things like colored wall photos and pop-up photos.
There is a certain amount of burn-out you see with Instagram users, which is why Instagram Stories have taken off in popularity.
You can throw anything up on a story. The content begins to feel more native and easier to capture. You don’t have to think about colored walls, the filter, or the people in the background in the way of your perfect photo.
Is creating a curated Instagram feed aesthetic really worth it?
Users are now asking themselves, “What length am I willing to go to get that photo? Is it worth the $30 cost of admission?”
Is it really worth driving to the city and the cost of a parking garage all for an Instagram photo that thousands of other people have when you look at the same hashtag?
Is it worth waiting in line once I get there for an hour?
Is it worth jumping into a fake marshmallow pit as a grown adult with other kids where I could potentially get sick and then have to miss work?
And for many users, it’s just not worth it anymore. They can just as easily take a great photo in their neighborhood without having to spend money to get a highly curated photo that 10,000 people already have.
If content is king, unique content reigns supreme, and you can’t get that if you have a photo that isn’t unique.
Ask yourself, is it worth it?
Turning a beautiful Saturday into yet another photo op. Asking the person you are with to be a photographer and take curated photos when all they want to do is sit outside in the sun instead of sitting in a fake marshmallow pit with children as a grown adult trying to get likes from Internet strangers.
Are we willing to lose the people we like in real life to get the attention of people on social media who don’t even know us to “like” our images and digital persona?
More people are waking up to the inherent disparity in this and are finally saying no.
I’m no longer willing to give up real love and likes to get attention from digital strangers.
What about you?
What is your social media line in the sand?