September 13, 2018

Food for Thought

Facebook and Instagram complement each other as different kinds of social network. Facebook reinforces your real-life network whereas Instagram allows you to pop outside of it and see a different world—which is what happened yesterday evening. @restaurantfairy invited me to her dinner party with other Instagrammers. As you see in the photo, she cooked up an incredible array of Indian food. I cannot thank her enough for inviting someone who is, for all intents and purposes, a total stranger.

By nature, I’m an introvert and not particularly good at socializing, especially because I didn’t grow up in this country. But, I love peeking into the worlds outside of my own. Instagram turned out to be a great tool for satisfying my curiosity because the platform is designed around a specific topic instead of aiming to mirror the real-life network. The subtle differences in the UX design make a huge difference. For instance, Instagram makes it easy for you to create multiple accounts each focused on a different theme/topic. Unlike the feed algorithm for Facebook, it does not put any priority on real-life friends, so connecting with total strangers is much easier as long as they share the same interest. The prominent use of hashtags allows you to hop across different worlds with ease.

Today, through the use of online technologies, many people isolate themselves in their small bubbles and avoid connecting with the worlds outside in any meaningful ways. This is leading to unnecessary conflicts and divisions, especially in politics. In order to reinforce their own identities, they only look for differences, not similarities, which leads to a distorted and self-serving image of “the Other.” We need more technologies to counter this problem.

But, at the end of the day, Instagram is only a tool; it’s only as good as how we use it. It’s not a magic bullet to bring us all closer. We deliberately have to use it for that purpose. Thank you @restaurantfairy for that effort

#instagram #nycfoodie #indianfood #socialnetwork #queens #homecooking #queenseats #instafood