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Nobody cares about "perfect" Instagram feeds anymore

Instagram has become Gen Z's diary: from blurry photos to cringe memes

Nobody cares about perfect Instagram feeds anymore Instagram has become Gen Z's diary: from blurry photos to cringe memes

Years ago, scrolling through the various Instagram profiles of influencers, actors or singers, we saw nothing but luxurious hotel rooms, glossy photo shoots or a few cups of coffee next to the cover of a beautiful book: everything was instagrammable. Now it seems that the growing importance of Gen Z on the various social platforms has outclassed the obsession with aesthetic perfection and curation, preferring a more truthful and authentic language. This is precisely where the eternal generational debate reopens, with the Millennials: it's not just the choice of social media platforms that differs, but what they're doing on those platforms that is sanctioning a distinct divide. Emblematic is the recent success of a page like @samyoukills, a photographer who, without ever appearing in front of the camera, records unfiltered moments from the life of cities around the world with a special emphasis on the naturalness and spontaneity of his subjects, whose emotions create a photographic storytelling much less flat than more "glossy" influencers.

With the advent of the first influencers years ago, Instagram had turned into one big sequence of perfect feeds: selfies were strictly edited with a few VSCO presets and it looked like everyone was eating avocado toast for breakfast. The new Gen Z creators, on the other hand, refuse to present themselves to the public according to this standardized look of beauty, preferring a more messy, unfiltered vibe. While Millennials retouched sunset photos taken with an SLR, Gen Z posts images directly from the camera roll, or shoots them in analog. The main difference lies in the fact that this social media used to be a shining example of the ostentation of a perfect life, often unreachable. Now influencers like Emma Chamberlain, barely in their twenties, show us the authenticity of life we need. As Taylor Lorenz explained in an article published in The Atlantic, The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over, the "Instagrammable" style made famous by the platform no longer works, both conceptually and aesthetically. Millenial pink is over.

No one is interested in seeing contrived or forced product sponsorships anymore; consumers are increasingly focused on the causes and values of brands, from which they demand more engagement. Back in 2019, Forbes claimed how the market has reached its saturation point, losing the authenticity that had been added value of the early days. Many of the influencers of the first generation no longer exist today, and not only because of generational turnover, but mainly because of a decline in interest in their content. Consumers have become more savvy and as a result, digital creators have evolved to favor a more truthful and real relationship with their community. Gen Z members have a more realistic and informed perspective. Because of this, anything that appears constructed, forcedly beautiful or eager for attention is unpalatable in the eyes of the public. Users no longer feel the need to be formal, captions under posts represent the new stream of consciousness of teenagers. If you're still using hashtags you're a boomer, if you're sharing a cringe meme in stories you already know you'll see the same story thirty more times throughout the day and you'll be pleased with how funny you are. You don't need others to tell you that.

@kidwhocantrideabike Like you have to know #WinterFit #CobraKaiChop #WithoutTellingMe #BRIDGERTON #fyp #ugly #sign #cute #hot #pretty #friends #bestfriends gimme more slayyyter remix - amber

Jane Macfarlane, art director of the creative agency The Digital Fairy, said in an interview with Vice that the "anti-aesthetic" trend on Instagram represents an evolution of the photo-dump format, which experienced its success during the two years of the lockdown, when no one was in the mood or had a way to take "Instagrammable" photos. Each of us, at least once, thought it made sense to create a carousel of images where for some reason a photo of a chopped up sandwich and the lyrics of a 2008 song had some weird connection that they could be posted together. This trend toward an aesthetic of ugliness as mindless and random as it may seem, in reality, is not entirely so. Rather than a victory for ugliness, in fact, one could speak of a triumph of sincerity - from the recent resurgence of Crocs to trends on TikTok in which it's fashionable to accentuate dark circles with make-up. It's on TikTok that Generation Z is at its best, celebrating a rawer, more individualistic aesthetic. Teens like to create more spontaneous, funny content, taking their time to make videos that could go viral: from accidental falls to declarations of love with Justin Bieber's Baby playing in the background. As silly and nonsensical as these often are, they are nothing more than a testament to the creativity of digital natives. It's heartening to see how new creators are clearing away embarrassment, making inadequacy a sense of strength, as a form of counterculture creating fertile ground for new ideas in an increasingly homogeneous space.

This authentic and free aesthetic, now an integral part of most social media profiles owes its birth to the influence of celebrities who now choose to document their lives in a much freer way. First of all Bella Hadid who has recently chosen to show herself to her fans in a more truthful version, admitting that social media is not reality and that beyond the search for a fictitious perfection each of us must come to terms with the reality of our lives. Last week the supermodel immortalized her Roman vacations in a carousel of images between a melted ice cream cone and a tricolor flag in the streets of downtown. Unmissable then the presence of Dua Lipa, considered the queen of the photo dump, which has once again conquered its fans with a sequence of photos taken in Las Vegas on the occasion of the Grammy's, from a Versace dress to a dinner of sushi. Or Emma Corrin, who in her latest post shows herself first on the red carpet of the Olivier Awards and then in a blurry group selfie.