No offence to my Dad, but when a 60-year-old farmer from Wagga Wagga, Australia, gets Instagram, you know the app only has months to a year at best, left to live.
And to be honest, I've been feeling a looming expiry date for a while. This was just the nail in the coffin.
Look, I still have Instagram, I still use Instagram, but I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated and uninspired by the photo-sharing platform.
I used to love my endless scrolling, lusting over outfits and exotic locations, learning a new blending technique from beauty accounts, and seeing photos of my friends living their best lives.
So why has it all gone tits up?
Instagram birthed the influencer. Sure, YouTube may have planted the seed, but the move to a more mobile and public place-friendly platform led to full on insemination.
Don't get me wrong, I love influencers and follow many of them (Desi Perkins is my current fave), but it's becoming an oversaturated phenomenon, with every man and his dog posting #ootd, #fitnessroutine and even #ad (when their post is anything but) in order to appear like a 'professional'.
The problem is that people can pay for followers, likes and comments. Combined with the right narcissistic attitude and they can hoodwink almost anyone. It's a shame, because the reason I liked Instagram in the beginning was because of its authenticity. But now, all I can see is people trying to be influencers. And I'm scared that if I see yet another photo of someone standing unnaturally in front of a lilac house in Notting Hill wearing a leopard print skirt, I'm going to throw my phone at a wall.
GLAMOUR's columnist, Victoria of In The Frow, wrote an excellent piece on How To Spot Fake Engagement & Followers on Instagram. And while it helped me to realise which influencers are legit and which may have paid for their popularity, it is now all I can think about when I scroll.
I really don't want to be monitoring someone's 'like' patterns and comment sections for duplicates, but now I can't help it. And I hate it.
Why couldn't everyone have just stayed pure and true to themselves? Bring back Chrissy Teigen eating fried chicken in a bathrobe. And Instagram, sort the bots for good, please.
I realise this is getting a little ranty, and I'm sorry. But also not, because I know I'm not the only one getting the sh*ts with the 'gram.
Even those who have built a career on Instagram; those who owe their book deals, clothing lines and makeup ranges to the app, are getting increasingly frustrated with it. Mainly due to the forever-changing and fickle 'algorithm'.
The main gripe is that some photos aren't being shown in the feed of followers, resulting in sporadic dips in engagement. Many find a solution by posting a 'sneak peek' of the feed picture in their Stories, directing people to their feed to see it. This is annoying because a. I have to jump from stories to feed and b. I miss many of my friend's posts because they're just regular people who want to share photos and not advertise it in their Stories.
And if I'm not being shown the posts I want to engage with, where's the fun in that?
Alongside spotting fake followers and manually typing in my besties handle so I can make sure I don't miss her birthday post, I find myself thinking cynically about almost every photo in between. Why? Because all I can see is the agenda behind the camera.
Show me any photo, and I can tell you why that person posted it. Whether it's a brunch shot in order to separate the selfies on their feed or a quote with a pink background to launch that month's colour scheme, it seems like nothing is posted without a purpose anymore.
I'm no longer mindless scrolling, I'm mindful scrolling. Mindful of the fakes, and game plans behind the 'gram. Only this game just isn't that fun.
I know exactly what the solution is. Quit... right?
Or at least unfollow anyone that frustrates me and 'doesn't spark joy'.
But the problem is that Instagram is like cocaine. I can't help but go back for more. It makes me feel angry, irrational and down in the dumps at times, but I can't help but open that app for a quick hit of elation and satisfaction.
And until I can be weaned off with a replacement drug, I'm afraid I'll stay hooked.
Original article on GLAMOUR UK. Read the full article here.