Knowing my strong feelings for Instagram, my husband sent me the link to read an article on the Guardian website. The article is basically about how the writer sees travel being ruined by Instagram. She gives various examples of people travelling to certain places after seeing pictures on Instagram, or talks about the contrived poses and general disrespectful ways of young tourists at religious places. Now I am already a biased reader – I love Instagram but a lot of what she said just didn’t resonate and honestly, a lot of it also didn’t really make sense. What was odd that I couldn’t align her thoughts and ideas about Instagram with the way I use it.
The writer speaks with disdain of something being ‘Instagram worthy’. It is obvious that something as being ‘Instagram worthy’ sounds silly and frivilous to her (and probably a lot of people). But can we please take a step back and break this down. When we talk about a travel destination being Instagram worthy – what do we actually mean? What I mean by a travel destination being Instagram worthy is that its beautiful, interesting to see and travel to. In my mind logically everyone would want to go to a beautiful place for vacation. Isn’t that the whole point of it? So where does this disdain come from?
(I just wanted to clarify and say that the pictures have nothing to do with the post – sorry. I just found the pictures on my computer and the thought of wearing a tee shirt and jeans was so appealing. I am so tired of wearing wool and carrying around my heavy wool coat like a turtle.)
Instagram is expanding travel, increasing tourists, providing access and information about destinations not previously known and providing opportunities to people to travel which may not have been available earlier. Now in my mind that is a good thing. I am sure that is not the actual intention of the article but it does come across as saying that some people don’t deserve to travel and some people do – people who know how to travel well should travel and not the rest. When you read about a fancy spa in Conde Nast travel and book your holiday its ok but not booking a holiday based on a picture you saw on Instagram. Now this dichotomy made no sense to me. Judging people on how they travel, how they enjoy their vacation time, what they like to do while travelling is something I am strongly against.
Outfit details: Boyfriend fit jeans, white tee from the Unqilo JW Anderson collection (similar), necklace from H&M, leather belt, black sandals, scarf is block printed handcrafted from Bali and faux leather jacket.
The only time this is justified is when someone ruins your holiday due to their behaviour. However, the article didn’t really mention this happening. Hers was a general rant against others on holiday taking pictures for Instagram – nothing that seemed to directly be an issue for her.
She also has an issue with ‘Western tourists’ who don’t respect Eastern religious places and sentiments. Being ‘Eastern’ myself I have seen enough tourists, both Western and Eastern, behaving badly but I am not sure how this issue is connected to Instagram. Some tourists behaving badly is what some tourist do and that tale is as old as time itself – not really from the Instagram age. Honestly in the Instagram age of news moving faster than ever, there is a greater possibility of these badly behaved tourists being outed on Instagram for their shameful behaviour.
My basic point is that social media (like all things in the world) is what you make of it. If you follow ‘skinny white girls’ on Instagram they will show up on your news feed. Its pretty obvious. (Random story: my mom called me horrified after she mistakenly following another Anisha on Instagram, saying “I thought it was you and now she is sending me her pictures every day! How can I tell her to stop?”) If you follow fantastic travel photographers, they will show up on your feed. Sometime a strange photo will show up on your feed which will lead you to a pink lake at the top end of Mexico which will take your breath away. Which you will remember and smile about a year later when you are sitting in a dark room in London in the middle of January.
I never did think myself as the defender of Instagram. I am actually not a major user in the sense that I only put pictures on my blog’s account occasionally but I am addicted. I check my pictures everyday. I love the talent I see on it. The amateur photographers who take amazing photos, and are now being paid for their photographs thanks to Instagram and those who have now started their profession as photographers. I love discovering new parts of the world knowing I may never see it with my eyes but glad to have seen someone else’s perspective. I love seeing photos of people in my favourite spots to see if they love it as much as I did.
There are lots of things to hate about Instagram and social media but judging people for taking photos on their holiday is something I cannot respect.
Show us your holiday photos! Link your favorite holiday photo in the comments or email or post on our Facebook, Twitter whichever you prefer. We will repost them on our Instagram. If you are the no pictures on holiday sort let me know what you like you do and how you enjoy your time away.