Instagram Reveals Who We Are

Category: Social Media Social Good Series

Cartoon about Instagram

Instagram is one of those new platforms that have been an instant success. Like most new things, I tend to wait and get aboard only when I have to – I’m forced to – or really, when I finally get over my anxiety about learning it. Now, I love using it and I share really important things via the photos I take with my phone. Things such as what I’m eating for breakfast, hundreds of photos of Simon (my dog), and my feet, when I’m napping.

Favorites on Instagram

What fascinates me is the Explore key (see image above) in which the most popular photos/people/participants are featured in a 15-photo grid. You can quickly scroll through them, view any, and refresh the whole grid with a simple click in the upper right corner. These photos are a window into popular tastes, popular culture, and what seems to interest men and women – – just as my Men vs. Women series explores the same differences.

My un-scientific study and observations reveal these images to be the most popular and most revealing of our “likes:”

Shoes photos on Instagram

~~ Shoes: Okay, I don’t think I need to designate which images are more female-centric, since I hope it’s obvious. Yes, there are the occasional sneakers images, but the majority of shoe images are high-heels designer shoes. AND, more often than not, the images are shot from the pov of the person, looking down at their shoes (see above image).

Instagram photo of nail polish

~~ Nails, Make-Up, and Hair: I can’t believe how many images I see of a woman’s hands adorned with “creative” nail polish. Also, plenty of eyes and eyebrows, along with a multitude of hairstyles including some very inventive braids!

Sports cars

~~ Cars: The more exotic and expensive the better!

Cute cat and dog photo

~~ Pets and Exotic Animals: Cats and Dogs predominate but there are lots of other animal photos as well, especially those of The Big Five (in Africa).

Cute baby photo

~~ Babies: Who can resist a cute baby photo, especially a cute baby bottom!?

Famous model in bikini

~~ Pretty Women – especially in scant clothing: Every model worth her name and every wanna-be model is on Instagram. The images range from tatted all over babes to stylish classy society styles, along with the expected and majority-rules bikini photos (thank you G*d).

Crazy GoPro ski photo

~~ Sports: GoPro and RedBull offer great images and there a bunch of them. Also, any current ongoing big sports event is covered as well as great images from literally all big sports. I see plenty of surfing shots and expect I’ll see more skiing ones in the winter.

Fashion photos

~~ Women’s Fashion: Omg, OMG. This blows me away. How many handbags, dresses, and accessories do women need? Don’t answer that. I’m married. I know. The amount of fashion on Instagram I would guess outnumbers EVEN the number of “babes.” Fashion rules, clearly.

Gold bling on Instagram

~~ Bling: Truly this is a sub-category of Women’s Fashion, but bling is popular without a doubt. A smaller sub of this is tattoos and piercings. Not as popular, but also present.

Famous Celebrities

~~ Celebrities: Yes, Justin Beiber is all over the place. One word: UGH.

Beautiful exotic beach photo

~~ Beaches (and exotic locales): Usually, these are among the coolest and best images posted. They always seem to have enhanced brilliant colors and always seem to make me want to drive to the airport immediately.

Beautiful sunset

~~ Sunsets: I suppose this category is really Weather, with sunsets being the top choice and the images are usually wonderful.

Self-portrait Selfie photos

~~ Selfies: A total product of the SoMe generation and cell-phone cameras, there are self-portraits in just about all the categories listed here, especially the celebrities and models.

Food photos

~~ Food: We all love to eat and while most of us do post what we are eating at the moment – as if anyone cares – the popular food images are more professional images of food and usually stimulate salivation insantly.

Food instragram cartoon

There are also some apps that allow Instagram users to post multiple images in the same photo. Given that these images are already small – being mostly seen on a cell-phone – I do NOT get the popularity of putting the same image next to itself two or three times.

What do you observe when you peruse random photos on Instagram? Do you agree that Instagram is a reflection of popular taste and interests?

Collage of Instagram photos

How about skipping that $5 Starbucks latte and splurging $2.99 (for the Kindle on Amazon) or $2.79 for the PDF of my new e-book? Enjoy my own informercial for it! This e-book is really a virtual journey. It’s filled with 100 photos, 7 original videos, and links to many of the stops on the trip. Click on the book cover image below to find your purchase options: 

Book Cover from The Empty Nest

  • nathashaalvarez

    I was like you. I stayed away from Instagram as much as I could because I didn’t need another Social Media Platform. But I’m hooked now. The apps when you can put more than one pic are very helpful. It allows me to place related photos in one. You can always go to your laptop to see the bigger image. 🙂
    I see that you didn’t mention nature not only sunrise and sunsets. I have <3 flowers, trees, mountains. Do you follow @everythingeverywhere ? He was at NMX and he travels all over the world taking photos. He doesn't have a home. It's his job. It's his life. I use Instagram to see what others like and how the human mind works. 🙂 Good post! 🙂

    • Bruce Sallan

      @nathashaalvarez:disqus – which apps do you use to post multiple photos? I think YOU ARE RIGHT that the category would be better served with “Nature” as its name than simply sunsets and beaches.

  • Tisha Berg

    I think instagram is an example of people’s fascination with themselves and the idea that everybody else will be just as mesmerized because they put stuff out there. It’s partly a by-product of the reality TV culture, which I abhor. We don’t own a TV mostly for that reason. Don’t get me wrong, I like sharing pics of my kids and our travels around town too, but I try to keep who I share with within a circle of ppl that I know via online or offline channels. I think most people are a bit too click-happy and it’s created a generation of kids who sadly often mistake the mediocre for “awesome!”

    • Bruce Sallan

      @TishaBerg:disqus – I left television largely due to the advent of so-called “Reality TV” which is really UN-reality tv! Thx for sharing your thoughts – we are in total agreement. We ONLY had a tv monitor when my boys were young and they ONLY watched pre-approved videos and then DVDs and ONLY on non-school days! I wish it were still that way, but my 2nd wife insisted we get television because she likes to have it when she cooks (and she’s a GREAT cook) as well as watching it when she’s ended her day – in bed. THAT is a big mistake that I allowed – there NEVER should be a television in the bedroom IMO!

  • David Weber

    Oh…I commented on this article earlier … it is posted twice.

    There was a comment I forgot to make … when I read the passage “tatted all over babes” I misread it…I thought it was “tatted all over babies”! My first thought was, “My god, who would have their baby tattoo’d all over, and isn’t that child abuse or otherwise illegal, and how do they not get arrested?”

    I wrote a longer comment at the other posting of this article.

    • Bruce Sallan

      You never know @disqus_IeGo6Zakqo:disqus – perhaps some lovers of tattoos do tattoo their babies? Especially a tattoo artist who can do it him or herself?