My Farewell to Instagram

This terrifically odd photo of Camille Paglia, wielding a knife in a men’s restroom, is just a placeholder image for my farewell to Instagram. I couldn’t think of a better way to close the door on the Instagram Era of my life than with Camille, ready for action and looking eerily like Paul McCartney. I will be deleting my account in a day or two. Marshall McCluhan argued that, “The medium is the message,” and the more time I spend on Instagram, the more plausible this idea seems to me. The media through which we communicate shape the way we hear, see, relate, and speak to each other. Form controls content to the extent that the medium becomes the message itself. As much as I enjoy slapping a good Crema filter over some of the more picturesque moments in my life (and I do—I really have enjoyed it), Instagram’s structural message is a vapid one, glazed with voyeurism. The problem is not photo sharing in general, it is the overwhelming mass of anti-meaningful, shallow interactions that take place as a consequence and expression of the medium. It’s that Instagram makes deep and textured human interaction unwelcome in the short run and untenable in the long run. Instagram has a soul-shrinking effect. Almost no one says anything genuinely interesting about anything that is shared there, ever. Despite the best of intentions, the medium shapes and becomes the message. From here on out, please feel free to connect with me in person or via text, email, Facebook (where I will not be deleting my account for now, at least), or the blogosphere, where a conversation of more than three sentences and five hashtags is always, always welcome.