Increasingly, Instagram dominates our life decisions. Well, maybe not the big, major ones, but it definitely influences things like where we brunch, cheers and vacation. Not only do perpetually phone-clad young people want to experience the hottest restaurants, watering holes, dessert spots and resorts, they naturally want to document it all on Instagram.
When launching a new business – or giving an existing one a facelift – Instagram-worthiness increasingly plays a role in everything from food to décor. For example, the neon sign is having a moment, with things like the “Pablo Loves You” sign at Escobar (one of the city’s “secret” refined watering holes) currently dominating Instagram feeds the way Brassai’s “Love Me Till I’m Me Again” art did in Instagram’s infancy. Similarly, many of us have seen more of the photo-worthy art deco touches of King West’s Oretta than we have the food.
If you search the geotag for Ossington hotspot La Banane, you’ll find it full of the spot’s infamous Ziggy Stardust Disco Eggs, complete with its signature golden spoon. Places like Sweet Jesus and Bang Bang Ice Cream have lineups that could eat up 45-minutes of your day, just so that sweet-craving Instagram-loving Torontonians can get their hands on one of their colourful, over-the-top desserts that are pretty much designed to garnish “likes.” In fact, if you go to Sweet Jesus and don’t take a photo, what’s the point (honestly)?
18-35-year-olds spend the equivalent of five whole days a year browsing food posts on Instagram and 30 per cent would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was on the weak side.
The good news for restaurant owners is that it’s working. As highlighted in a recent(ish) piece from The Independent, new research from Zizzi reveals that 18-35-year-olds spend the equivalent of five whole days a year browsing food posts on Instagram and 30 per cent would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was on the weak side.
Well I actually have a soft spot for most of the aforementioned spots, it must be asked whether we putting Instagram ahead of quality in some cases and in general. While some feel just as satisfied with a photo-worthy meal that brings in dozens of likes as they do one that pleases the palette, some of the most quality meals I have had in Toronto aren’t the ones that photograph the best.
While I am all for the pretty, photo-worthy things, if I’m going to drop my hard-earned dollars on a meal or a fancy cocktail, I would expect it to look as good as it tastes. Otherwise, it’s no better than an easy-on-the-eyes but substance lacking trophy husband or wife – looks only get you so far. For example, I know I am not the only one who thought Starbucks’ much-Instagrammed Unicorn Frappuccino looked (and photographed) way better than it tasted.
The whole Instagram vs. quality debate goes further than décor and food. From a public relations standpoint, for example, many brands would rather a single social media post from an influencer who has upwards of 100,000 followers as opposed to a well-written article by a journalist in a publication. It also affects the way we all live our lives as we increasingly see the world through a smartphone lens as opposed to our own two eyes. It’s become more about the photo op than the experience, as we move further toward the mentality of, “If it’s not on social media, it didn’t really happen.”
A survey released last year revealed that 75 per cent of people admit that their lives are more exciting on social media.
Instead of savouring a stunning sunset, getting lost in the moment at a concert or actually enjoying our meal when it’s still hot, most of us social media our lives away one well-crafted post at a time. A survey released last year revealed that 75 per cent of people admit that their lives are more exciting on social media. But maybe they would be more exciting in real life if we stopped experiencing life’s moments through our phones in the first place.
Do you think that we’ve been compromising quality for Instagram-worthiness? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.