Why Instagram isn’t “instant” anymore

Why Instagram isn’t “instant” anymore

*I’ll be showing some of my favourite Instagram accounts throughout this post cause their feeds are just SO pretty*


It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without Instagram, isn’t it? The photo-sharing platform is now most people’s go-to place to get their Internet fix, but the social media site has only been a ‘thing’ since 2010. It’s hard to believe that in just 8 years we have seen the creation of Instagram influencers, who have cleverly used the platform to build businesses (or to promote teeth whitening kits and detox tea for big £££). But in-amongst all of these #ads, there are the everyday people who are just using the platform to update their pals on what they’ve been up to – which is originally what Instagram was intended for.

The word Instagram is actually a combination of the words ‘instant’ and ‘telegram’, formed by its creators Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. The idea behind the social media platform was that its users could instantly update their followers in picture form, choosing one of their pre-set filters to edit their image within minutes and quickly share them with their followers, without much thought on how it would look on the grid. Now, with the ever-growing nature of social media as a whole, its users are putting much more thought into what they’re sharing and how that will be perceived to the world.

Over Instagram’s 8 years of living, the platform has become saturated with influencers who are trying to get their content seen, which requires a great deal of planning. Professional Instgrammers are now paying for photographers to help them create high quality images to make sure their content to stands out in amongst feeds of cute dogs and ex-Geordie Shore members’ fitness DVDs. These images (even if they’re taken on an iPhone) are then edited on a more advanced scale than just wacking on the Valencia filter and hoping for the best and are then – most probably – uploaded into a content scheduler which will determine its upload date, which could be weeks after the photo was originally taken. This process can take even longer when a brand is paying the individual to promote a particular product, as the images have to be signed off before they can even go live (Lily Pebbles uploaded a great video on how this brand/influencer relationship works).

Now, this process sounds far removed from the everyday Insta user’s, but even those of us without thousands of followers are still conscious of how our feed, and ourselves, are coming across to our audience. Admittedly, I have a thing for pretty Instagram grids, so I do try to stick to a consistent theme and I have a bank of images on standby that I can upload when I’m running low on things to post. It’s also very rare that I post something there and then, in the moment, to the point where my mum once thought I was in London when I was actually in the library in Leeds as I posted a picture from my trip to Camden the week before. This delayed uploading is what the Insta community call #latergram.

#Latergram is a hashtag that is playing on Instagram’s supposed ‘”instant” nature, replacing the ‘insta’ with ‘later’ – and is used when an image is posted after the event that it is capturing has happened. So, realistically, the majority of our Instagram feeds are made up of #latergrams – with brands and influencers pre-planning their content and us nobodies saving some of our favourite pics to post later. But is this creating an unrealistic view of people’s lives?

The answer is yes, of course it is. If you’re posting pictures that suggest you’re swanning around London, drinking Aperol Spritz’s at midday, everyday, when you’re really sat struggling to write an assignment, it’s painting an unrealistic picture of your life. It’s very easy to take multiple pictures at the weekend when you’re having a great time and upload them when you’re actually at work/uni during the week; but it’s also easy to forget that you’re misleading people on where you are and what you’re doing. I don’t need to tell you that social media and mental health are strongly linked, and it is these ‘perfect’ personas that we portray on Instagram that contribute to the depressive nature of social media.


But, how can we combat this? Being more transparent with your uploads and disclaiming when the picture was taken could in fact lift the pressure of some of your followers who think you’re out having a great time 24/7, cause thats not realistic or relatable for anyone.

What do you think about this #latergram culture? Do you think that we should be posting realistic, in-the-moment images, or should we be allowed to post some of our favourite pictures after the event has actually happened? Let me know in the comments! 



Pls also check out my insta @ellalwells



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