Making Instagram Casual Again

*By Jordana Bell*

When I joined Instagram in 2012, the culture of social media fostered an entirely different platform. The authenticity of everyday life was shared through a feed of genuine captures: selfies with pets, brunch dates with family, or even shots of baking creations. Posting was undeniably spontaneous and the world of social media was innocent. 

Credit: Emma Chamberlin Instagram

Today, Instagram is abused as a figmented reality of our everyday lives. The hyper-commercialized platform feeds into the toxic culture of modern social media. Users are putting content on their page that complies with an unspoken blueprint: pictures showing a perfect life. The increase in sponsorships and desire for the blue-check mark next to your username affected social media culture entirely. Having an aesthetically-pleasing grid took priority over a personal identity, which is ultimately what Instagram was initially created for. 

An authentic lens of photo-sharing was restored when #makeinstagramcasualagain was coined in 2018. This anti-aesthetic movement gained recent momentum in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been growing ever since. The objective consisted of restoring Instagram to its intended form: impromptu posting. The hashtag promotes unfiltered, blurry, and candid photos that reflect personal identity over popularity. 

Over the years, Instagram has transformed from a medium for escape to a non-stop networking event. The growing popularity of #makeinstagramcasualagain has normalized trends that reflect individuality. 

Here are the top five ways to reflect #makeinstagramcasualagain in your own Instagram feed. 

  1. Photo Dumps

Currently, this trend takes form in “photo dumps,” which have taken the Instagram medium by a storm. Instagram user Harry Hill told Mashable that a photo dump is “a series of five or more photos that are seemingly unrelated, plucked from an overabundant camera roll in an attempt to share multiple vibes at once.” 

Instagram users are utilizing this trend as a form of personal expression, ultimately bringing back spontaneity in posting.

2. Scenic Pictures 

Another popular, yet casual instagram trend is posts of sight-seeing. Everything from tourist attractions, nature finds, yummy meals, or skylines helps bring humanity to social media platforms. Our scenic world should be shared and recognized!

Credit: Pinterest

3. Blurry Photos 

Blurry photos encourage spontaneous photo shots. Not everything needs to be perfectly posed or edited, and you can truly show the internet that you are living life outside of a camera. Posting the photo you love but is deemed “too blurry” is actually showing your pure, organic approach to social media. 

4. Live photos  

Live photos show the reality behind picture-perfect captures. Live photos eliminate speculations of intense editing and facetuning. This technique promotes authenticity within social media and emphasizes ideas of natural, in-the-moment shots. 

5. Item Shots 

Everyone is always curious about what makes you, you. Pictures of your favorite items that you think comprise your identity should be shared. These may include your favorite pair of sunglasses, your grandma’s vintage necklace, and of course, your teapot collection. 

With these techniques, today’s social media generation can make curating a picture-perfect instagram feed a practice of the past. Next time you are contemplating that certain post, be spontaneous! Make social media a reflection of your own personal identity and encourage originality in all aspects of life. Remember, Instagram can be made casual again. 

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