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Instagram Overload: Are We Taking Too Many Selfies?

This post appeared in its entirety on MommieNoire.com

The Oscars have come and gone like a tornado of celebrities and selfies, and still there will be countless images that will be displayed all over the various media outlets in the weeks to come. It’s a tradition. We’re used to it, and in some cases immune to it.

But lately, I’m feeling a little put off about the way we use our pictures these days. This whole, what I’m calling “Instagramafication,” of our society. Now hear me out moms, even though experts say college students are the population most using Instagram. You’d be hard pressed to find a girl that doesn’t love to see her own reflection as much as I do, or as much as I used to, but it’s just not the same anymore. Sure, I’m over 30, and I don’t look the same as I did when I was 23, but I’m not supposed to. Besides, this is not about my age, this time my problem is the fact that folks are taking pictures for the sake of posting pictures instead of having a photo taken to capture a special moment.

Perfect example: The other night I attended a friend of a friend’s party. Yes, the old friend of a friend. And, before I knew it I was watching a real live photo shoot captured by the iPhone paparazzi. Nothing wrong with this. We’ve all done it. But then it went from spontaneous and harmless fun to borderline ridiculousness. Talk about Oscar-worthy performances. It went something like this: Wait, let me look at it. Zoom. No, I don’t like how that’s going to look on Instagram. I need to put on more lip-gloss. I got to comb my hair real quick. Let’s do it again. I’ll do this in the next one.

It was Instagram overload.

The scene went on for quite a while until all parties involved could agree on which photo they would like to be tagged in. I sat there slightly in disbelief and at the same time wondering how many times I might have done the same thing for perhaps Facebook or my drug of choice, Twitter. That’s @SharisseTracey by the way.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best look forward.  Let’s admit it, there’s a certain kind of pressure with social media because if you pay attention or haven’t been living in isolation, you know these images will last forever. So there’s that. No one in their right mind wants to knowingly take a bad photo or allow a bad photo to be taken, posted and then subsequentially be tagged in that horrible picture. Why would they? But isn’t there a middle? And, if there isn’t shouldn’t there be?

As the daughter of a photographer much of my childhood was formed around photographs. To say I loved pictures was an understatement. Not only was capturing the actual image part of the fun, but the anticipation of what image you might have actually captured. So much could happen with your subjects between the time you said smile or cheese and when you pressed your shutter button. Or, when the real magic happened and you snapped true candid shots. No notice. No poses. Just real life captured on film.

Those days or that week it took waiting for your prints to return from the lab was the true thrill of the photograph, and once the final image was in your hand you relived those moments again. Maybe paying honor to those portraits by framing them or placing them in an album to be shared over and over again for years to come.

Now, with the digital age of photography and all of its advances being as wonderful as they can be, the anticipation is lost, not to mention so many actual print shots. Let’s face it. We live in a share and delete society. And while it’s true that we have a way to share, store and save images forever, most of the time we don’t save. We only share because we have become instantly-gramafied. Maybe for this generation, that’s okay. But for me, I’m old-school. In my opinion, anticipation is the real loss. Pictures just aren’t the same without it.

So where are you in the Instagramification of are society? Do you think we’re taking too many pictures?

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