Instagram has become so boring! Let’s just face it. I mean ok, there was a time where it was half enjoyable. Where the main purpose was to upload fun photos, and to interact other PEOPLE. But recently it has been quite hard to understand what it has become. Because nowadays I find so many posts where people are simply tagging products and items of clothing, half of which I am not convinced as to whether they would use them in real life. But hey, at least if we do get bored there is a whole area devoted to posts which we may like, tailored to our personal preferences. Oh wait a minute, because these posts which we can see tend to be things which we can buy!
But Hang On A Minute
But hang on a minute, it is not that bad is it? Because, obviously depending on your FYP, a good proportion of the items which can be seen are actually produced by small creators who probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to be able to sell their products if it wasn’t for the cheaper option of setting up a shop, which we can thank the internet for. For us, this not only means that there are a wider range of products which we are able to choose from, but it also means that the option of shopping from independent brands becomes a lot cheaper. So in this respect the internet has become an excellent tool enabling small brands, and individual business people to compete, and actually attain success in selling their produce which they are likely to have put immense effort into.
But there are problems
Like most people, I love small brands. I love being able to support small businesses when I can, and I hate hearing about the enormous control, and the exploitative practices of the “big brand.” While like many, I do like to have some freedom where it comes to where I buy products from. Yet buying from small brands, even online, is still likely to be more expensive than buying from a small brand elsewhere. Subsequently, this has enabled large online stores like Shein to elbow through, and be able to sell all sorts of products and a range of styles, which often appear very similar to popular and more expensive alternatives. And just to indicate the extent of this advertising, I actually came across an advert for Shein, as I was researching this particular topic!
The World of Influencers
Let’s face it, these days the internet wouldn’t be the internet without influences. Personally I find it hard to have too much of an issue with people making a little money from tagging a product which they like and use, after having worked hard to build up platforms online where enough people are hearing about them. Especially in the middle of a pandemic where many people have lost their jobs, and are needing to find alternative sources of income to get by. Nevertheless when our feed is overloaded by posts like this, it becomes problematic because it means we are spending an increasing amount of our leisure time, scrolling through adverts, rather than interacting with others, or engaging in other hobbies. And we also know that many of these influencers are actually very privileged, and are earning far more than enough money needed to scrape by.
What Will Happen in the Future?
Of course there are many different sides to this argument, but I think the extent to which the internet has become commercialised is pretty sad. I understand that high streets are generally in decline, while of course more businesses are fundamentally based on the internet. But at the same time, the internet used to be a place where we could interact with others, find out more about things which interest us, and for just having a bit of fun. Yet, in my view, the money making aspect of it has certainly over the other functions of it. And it is most likely this process will continue, but it would be nice if things don’t change to the extent to which most of us cannot really enjoy the internet.
What to do in the Meantime
So while it isn’t exactly easy to escape from all of this, I think it is important for us to limit the amount of time we allocate on social media for certain activities. Now I think this works for different people, but for me I choose not to follow any of these big inflencers, and instead just what you may want to call “microinfluencers”. Meanwhile I like to use social media platforms to engage in posts which actually interest me, while if something looks like an advert, then it is almost a red flag. Maybe also have an account for only following friends, rather than anyone who may be marketing something toward you. Or maybe just occasionally turn off the phone.