Small talk, Portugal Fashion, day 2.
Silvia: OMG I loooooove Paris!
Me: Porto is very nice too. Such a postcard city!
Silvia: Instagram city!
Silvia, whom I just met and is sharing a corner of the sofa with me, seems as fashioned out as me (lots and lots of great shows which I won’t talk about here as I have been commissioned for a real article that will be published later) and kind of lonely. I’m here, in Porto, with 6 French journalists and bloggers cleverly curated by the fabulous Caroline from L’Appart PR.
Our group, composed by 8 strangers on day 1 quickly became a gang. Not a regular, fashionista, bad mouthing, seclusive gang. NO. NO. NO. A bunch of not so conformist fashion savvy naughty out of the box accomplices.
Aside from our boomerang activities, buffet hunt tasks splitting, instagram talent sharing (I haven’t progressed much but now I know what I have to do if I want to), fan shaped sitting style (so we can all take quality pics from our front row squeezed position), we also agreed on a chalenge: talk to people.
In this spirit of “let’s see what people from other countries have to say about things”, I met the delicious portuguese journalist, Silvia who, with a smarty pants sparkle in her eye, corrected my “postcard city” labelling with a 2.0 qualification, i.e. “instagram city”.
The girl is at least 10 years younger than me so my first thoughts were:
- hmmm, am I old?
- Has she ever sent a postcard in her life?
Then I stopped being agist and I wondered:
- Can instagram replace a postcard?
- Is this “postcard city” comment relevant these days?
We then had to proceed to the evening shows but as soon as I got back to the hotel, the questions bugged me and kept me awake.
No, I am not old!
Old is a state of mind and I have met many 20 something years old whose ideas and way of life made me feel I’d be an eternal perky teenager whilst some approaching the century put me to shame with their alertness, tolerance and flexibility.
Maybe Sylvia has never sent a postcard in her life… I haven’t since my grand-mother passed away 4 years ago. She was the only computer free person in my life so I couldn’t send her an email with pictures, which is something nobody does anymore anyway because if you wanna know where I am and what I’m up to, follow me!
No, Instagram cannot replace a postcard. A postcard is chosen specifically for one person with the intention to convey the fact that “I am thinking about you” whereas Instagram is there to show you all what I’m looking at, from which angle so YOU think about ME.
It’s not all that bad since Instagram allows you to see sceneries you would have never seen, discover places you would have never thought about, be educated about art that isn’t accessible to you, laugh at some silly but really funny images and quotes. But deep down it’s about follow me to make me feel I’m loved. And by that I mean, follow me, as in really. I have put 8 links to my Instagram (9) account here so please, at least check out my account (10).
There is another major difference between postcards and Instagram that implies that the latter won’t ever replace the former.
For this analysis, we will have to make an effort and forget about the horrible postcards with questionable sense of humour, kittens and other animals (which sadly can be found on instagram too) and recipes you can’t make at home because the ingredients are not sent with the card.
Let’s concentrate on postcards with a picture of a beautiful landscape, building or monument.
Typically, it will be a frame of something that is pleasing to the eye for most people if not all.
Something typical of the location that tourists will have seen during their visit and will remind them of the great time they had there.
Instagram, however, can be pictures of obscure places, broken down buildings or under construction, atypical shapes or activities that maybe nobody has seen except the instagramer who then chose to frame and edit it in a specific way.
If Instagram allows many use (and abuse) of images, we can’t deny that it democratises beauty and brings our attention to less expected cities, neighbourhoods, suburbs.
An Instagram city is therefore a “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” type of thing where talented instagramers bring out an aesthetic that we could have missed.
Instagram makes everything (and everybody) interesting.
So is still relevant to say that a city is a postcard city? Yeah, I guess.
Will the generation Z make any sense out of it? ….. not so sure.
Is it a loss? I don’t believe so.
Our pictural interest is no longer limited to the grand and beautiful.
Creation and expression of a vision are no longer limited to the happy few who have the equipment and had their entry granted by the gatekeepers.
If someone’s pictures or comments’ mediocrity offends me, I unfollow them.
It’s a pretty cool era to live in.
PS: I just found out that Instagram is changing. Feeds will be ordered according to popularity and no longer chronology. So everything I’ve learned to gain followers and was already kind of reluctant to apply isn’t true anymore. Is this news making my article irrelevant even before I publish it?