So has it reached the point where we all need to be on Instagram now?

There was once a point in our lives when social media was considered a luxury. But times have changed.

Now it’s a necessity.

Not to sound self-centered, but I feel like I’ve always fallen into that age group that social media analysts cater to. In fact, at one point, I was the age group. Facebook was created in 2004, and, since we’ve all seen The Social Network, we know that it took about a year to really take off.

I began college in September of 2005. So I was really the first class of college freshman to enter university life when Facebook was at full steam. I perfectly remember that summer before college, and even the last few months of high school prior to that, when all my classmates were telling me that I needed to create a Facebook account, because it would be a great way to network with my fellow undergrads.

Obviously it was the first I’ve ever heard of Facebook, but I created one and have never looked back.

Facebook has obviously become a lot much more than a university networking tool, and people of all ages now have their own accounts. I’d say it was about 2010 when everyone in the world realized they had an obligation to get onto Facebook.

Twitter has gone the same route. I created my Twitter account sometime around 2009, and have increased my utilization of it ever since. I’m not quite sure if it’s gotten to that point yet where everybody needs to be on it, but it’s close. And at the very least, I think everybody at least understands the enormous significance that Twitter has on our society.

For the most part, though, especially for the younger crowd, Twitter has lost its “luxury” label and become a “necessity.” If you don’t have a Twitter account, you’re going to fall behind in the world.

And those things are fine with me. As I said, I’m Generation Y, I’m hip, I’m up to date. If the world is moving to Facebook and Twitter, then I’m right there with it.

The thing that does trouble me, though, is that Instagram may be following — and soon.

It used be that things took months to become popular. But now, in this era, it takes days. Sometimes hours. And I’ve recently begun to notice the widespread usage of Instagram. I see people take photos, and within seconds, they’ll mention about how they’re posting it on Instagram.

It used to be that when you took a photo, you’d have to wait until you filled up your camera roll, then take it to your local one-hour-photo booth at CVS to have them exposed.

Then we all got digital cameras, and we only had to wait until we got home so we could upload it to our computers.

Then we all got smart phones, and we were able to take the photos, and upload them to Facebook at the appropriate time.

But now Instagram has claimed dominance over photographs, and if you take a photo, you have to get that shit up within a nanosecond after you snap it.

I actually had a conversation today with somebody, and upon me telling them that I lack an Instagram handle, they responded, “You have to make one. It’ll change your life.”

It will change my life.

When somebody tells you that, you know it only means one things — It’s here, and it’s here to stay.

So I’m actually contemplating creating an Instagram account now. And don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t think it’s stupid. I want to make that clear. I’ve actually sort of started to gain a slight appreciation for photography recently, so I don’t think I’d have any problems adjusting to Instagram.

I also like taking pictures, just in general. No I don’t try to nail down the perfect angles or the perfect shadow and light manipulation — I’m just a fan of capturing the moment. If I’m having a good time in a fun place, I like to snap a photo that encapsulates that experience. Then when I’m bored, I can flip through my camera photos and recollect on all the good times I’ve had in previous months. It’s the nostalgic side of me.

And that’s exactly what Instagram is for — capturing the moment. Except instead of enjoying it solely on your own phone, you’re sharing it with the world. But it’s not like Facebook where you’re posting photos and having it blend in among other people’s statuses, check-ins and YouTube recommendations. On Instagram, it’s photos, and only photos.

But I’m not sure how I feel about all these filters and color changes. Because by altering and editing a photo, then you’re taking away all of those things that I just said. You’re violating the magic of the moment that you were experiencing. To me, capturing the moment in a photo isn’t about having the perfect-looking image, but rather — it’s about having a memory implanted in time. When it was happening in real life, were you experiencing it through a filter? I don’t think so.

So that’s really the one thing that is making me reluctant to join Instagram just yet. Seeing all of those manipulated photos would infuriate me.

Who knows, maybe I’m a hypocrite and I’ll grow to love the filters. But that’s how I feel about it right now.

Can you imagine if I could use the equivalent of a filter on my blog? I’d type out what I have to say, and then use a “filter” to completely change and edit my words to make it sound more pleasing to others?

What would you guys prefer? Me, or some better, altered version of me?

Actually, don’t answer that question.

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