Is posting a photo dump on Instagram cringe now?

Is posting a photo dump on Instagram cringe now?
Durch: Mashable Erstellt am: April 07, 2024 anzeigen: 18

At the end of each month, I lie horizontally and swipe through the photos I've collected. I favorite the good ones and narrow them down to 10, curating a representation of the last 30 days of my life. It's a collection of randomness — selfies, close-ups of pasta, images of friends petting a dog, scenes from a concert, and a quote from a book — posted in an Instagram carousel and dubbed a photo dump

Photo dumps entered the cultural conversation in 2021. The Kardashians did it, the influencers did it, and our friends and lovers did it. It launched into popularity as a middle ground between those who posted constantly and those, particularly younger users, who had decided that posting on Instagram at all was no longer cool. This was, in part, a response to the unreachable Instagram aesthetic and perfection perpetuated by the app; photo dumps were a sort of messy alternative. At the same time, Instagram was changing its algorithm constantly, making it more difficult to find content from your actual friends or get the amount of likes and other quantitate popularity you were used to.

So we began posting more sparingly but also more sprawlingly, participating in our own little work of self-surveillance so the rest of the internet could gather more information about each other in a dragnet fashion that seemed more serious than it was.

These photo dumps serve as a kind of map of my own life, the weft of my yarn, you might say. I can look back on my Instagram and see myself each month at my hottest or most interesting. However, our need for constant online validation is too transparent, and posting has become inherently embarrassing.

That weft? That weft is lame. 

Recently, the photo dump hasn't been as common on my feed. People are only posting on their Stories, if they post at all. Instagram Stories have a short lifespan that serves as an ameliorative salve to the anxiety of posting on the grid. But even posting on Stories has lost some of its luster.

The signs are clear: Posting at all is for suckers, especially on an app like Instagram which has become less relevant to young people. If you post, no matter how exciting your life looks, it's not cool to share it on Instagram. We now feel the need to start making moves in silence.

Posting trends on Instagram are mercurial at best, their volatile nature always ensuring a feeling of unease. Not once in the past few years of online life have I posted something and not considered that perhaps I am doing it all wrong. I have concluded that's a good thing, and I should trust my intuition; I am likely doing it all wrong. The only people doing it right on social media are solipsists, and I probably wouldn't vibe with Descartes anyway.

Is posting an Instagram photo dump lame and cringe, or is it an aberration — a departure from what is expected of us?

At times like this, I am reminded of Jemima Kirke's response to the question, "Any advice to unconfident women," in which she said, "I think you guys might be thinking about yourselves too much."

That's the beauty of the photo dump: It's inherently personal. As Instagram trends evolve and posting habits shift, the photo dump may fade into obscurity, replaced by new forms of digital self-expression. Seeking validation online may be out, but I'm going to keep dumping anyway.

Topics Instagram

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