Instagram Stockholm Syndrome and how it ruined my life
I HAVE a dark confession.
In the course of researching and writing my searing editorial expose of the Byron Mummy Flogger phenomena I myself fell under the spell of Instagram and the Unbearable Likeness of Being.
The siren song of likeability called to me and I forgot to tie myself to the mast of truth with the ropes of research.
But Instagram was such a relief from the usual gritty dog eat dog life of a journalist -- the drudgery of writing actual news, finding real facts about things that do exist in the real world was getting me down big time.
Then convincing people to pay to read my stories, so I can keep my job at least until my next mortgage payment is due, was getting me even more down.
And its not just me, this is the lot of all journalists these days.
So it was understandable that I got captured by all the beautiful people making money in their shiny hand woven bespoke pastel coloured Insta-worlds.
That's right, the same way publishing heiress Patty Hearst fell in love with her Symbionese Liberation Army captors and started robbing banks with them (just Google it), I too fell victim to Instagram Stockholm Syndrome -- a condition whereby a hostage develops a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity.
I even had a new marketing concept and Instagram handle: Slack_Toes -- a retro hipster page devoted to wearing permanent press trousers with sandals.
I had no products to sell or means of distribution but just like those guys who almost pulled off the Fyre Festival, it did all exist inside Instagram and my own mind and I was accepting payments hand over fist.
I even had a bevy of sexy people across the world poised to simultaneously post pictures of themselves frolicking on beaches wearing powder blue K Mart pants and Dr Scholls sandals.
But then last Monday my new world, and the worlds of thousands of other hard working influencers, came crashing down when Instagram in Australia stopped showing the number of likes a post receives.
I mean WT the actual F? How would people ever know how truly inspirational I am and therefore how much free stuff to send me. I was ruined.
The flow on effects locally were heartbreaking.
Almost overnight the Byron Bay Lip Filler Industry collapsed and returned to its normal size with tankers full of collagen turned back at the Ewingsdale roundabout and sent back to the Gold Coast.
They almost had to cancel Splendour in the Grass -- I mean why would we bother going if we couldn't see at a glance how many people thought we looked hot and buff covered in dust and fake fur.
Instagram said the change was just a test -- limiting likes so users can only see their own likes to, "ensure Instagram is a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves".
Mia Garlick, director of policy for Facebook in Australia and New Zealand said "We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love."
So they reckon the test is driven by Instagram's commitment to our well-being. Whatever Mia.
Hearing Instagram, say they are attempting to remove the pressure of getting likes is the same as the NRL removing the pressure to win the State of Origin by removing the ball.
Hey Zuckerberg! the whole point of Instagram IS the like button.
But I'm guessing he already knows that and this is really about diverting the power and flow of money away from influencers and into the sponsored posts- which he controls.
Looks like I'll have to scuttle back behind my pay wall and keep doing journalism, which Facebook is halfway through destroying anyway.