Insta delete

Above: The final Instagram screen before account deletion. Credit: iGeeks.

Gram Craze

What if Instagram went the same way as Flickr? What if the obsessional craze around the image-led micro-blogging app came to an abrupt and unceremonious end? Right now the app seems so entrenched that such a change is "unimaginable." Yet, whoever I have mentioned this possibility to has reacted in the same excited and enthusiastic way: Yes! Please! I wish! I'm Sick of it!

It seems that for many Instagram users an initial pre-addiction "novelty" phase is now over (seven years, 2012 through 2018). This was seven years during which the app came to affect the daily lives of around 800 million users. Many of these 800 million now live in a slavish relationship to the drug of The Gram--just like the heroin addict, the initial enjoyment of the drug is long-gone and has been replaced by a habit, a need. The enjoyment has gone but the slavish demand "the monkey on the back" is very much present, and in fact there is nothing else but the demanding monkey (the essential quality of the life of the junky). 800 million persons are posting each day to the app, but many are doing it because they feel that they have to; that it is necessary. It's just one of the things you have to do in life--posting, and, of course, the nauseating time spent spinning down the dreaded "feed" checking out who is making you feel really envious of their life today.

A mass exodus could happen--tens-of-millions of users going Gram cold-turkey. The current scene of 15 percent of all humans uploading photos to their Instas and then checking their Instas--often for an hour or more each day--is worthy of inclusion in an updated volume of Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds: The Instagram Craze of 2012-18.

(12 September 2018)