This absurd video proves all travel Instagrams are the same
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If you want to make an impact on Instagram or any other social media outlet, differentiating yourself is key.
But as this video compilation proves, so many of us are guilty of a creativity drought when it comes to the travel pics we post on Insta.
Even before Instagram existed, each major city has always had its mandatory photo opportunity: the Eiffel Tower in Paris, La Sagrada Familia in Spain, the Great Wall of China in… China.
And Instagram has only ramped that up more. The term “pics or it didn’t happen” is adopting a disturbingly literal connotation. Bloggers and influencers are posting about the ins, the outs and the in betweens of their travels, from the #airportoutfit (departure) to the #otherairportoutfit (arrival) to the Uber rides to the food they ate to the wine they drank to the music they listened to. And, of course, what they wore, where they went, where they stayed to who they hung out with.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that — but what happens when all the travel pics start to look exactly the same?
In “Instatravel – A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience,” videographer Oliver Kmia takes a closer look at just exactly what it means to travel in the Instagram Age:
Using vacation as a marketing strategy isn’t anything new. I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the postmodern conception of the “travel blogger,” and likely follow at least one or two people whose literal job is to travel the world, wear cool shit, stay at cool places and hang out with cool people.
But if you take a step back as Kmia did, you’ll come to realize that everyone is more or less posting the same thing from place to place and it’s kind of embarrassing. We’re all guilty of this (I wasn’t about to fly 6 hours across the country and not grab a flick in front of The Beverly Hills Hotel, let’s be honest). But as Kmia shows us, taking photos in these places doesn’t differentiate us from one another, but rather reduces us to cliches. Our perception of these travel destinations has become increasingly redundant because everyone goes to the same places. And the more people continue to post those same places, the more other people want to visit them. This makes the world feel smaller, but in a lackluster kind of way.
Of course, there’s also something humanely narcissistic about documenting your travels and “adventures,” contrived as they may be. You’re in an awesome new place, doing fun things, you want this acknowledged and, understandably, memorialized. But at what cost? It’s no question that influencers maintain an element of aspiration by posting these photos and inspiring their followers to go to these places and do the same. But a video like this begs the question of whether our “getaways” have been diminished to a reality of running from wall to wall to bridge to skyline to capture the quintessential “you had to be there” photo. How many Leaning Tower of Pisa pics does it take to shut the internet down?
An influencer’s chief job is to find a way to differentiate themselves from others people and to push the envelope. It turns out just going to Peru and taking a photo at Machu Picchu isn’t quite cutting it in terms of #qualitycontent. But videos like these ones force us to stop and examine what it really means to go on vacation, be on vacation, and what we truly want out of travel experiences.