Nairobi City Centre 7.30 p.m.
I hurriedly cross Kimathi Street from Corner House then walk till I’m directly opposite The Stanley. I glance around before fishing out my phone from deep within my large bag, while pretending to be impatiently waiting for a late other. I look up at the highest point of the hotel and get a little disappointed. The lights are not on as I had expected. I stare at the building for a few seconds before I start walking back in the direction I came from. I bump into a girl I knew from uni. Was it Maureen? Doreen? Can’t remember. “Hiiii!!” I greet enthusiastically, before we hug, exchange pleasantries, work details, numbers and promises to call or visit one another. I glance to my right at The Stanley once again. To my delight, the lights are on, shining ever so brightly. I hurry back to where I was standing short while ago and take out my phone again…
Unfortunately, this is not an excerpt from a diary I kept during my CIA days. I have no CIA days. 😦 This was me trying to take a photo of the Christmas lights outside The Sarova Stanley. I was unsuccessful. I intend to try again. You will never take me alive!! NEVER!
Ok, that was uncalled for.
This is a post about a few interesting observations I have made since I started using Instagram, an online photo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take a picture, apply a digital filter to it, and share it on a variety of social networking services, including its own (Wikipedia), a few months ago, which is where that picture would probably have ended up.
- You start noticing that almost anything makes a potentially a good Instagram photo. ALMOST. No, your big toe should by no means be instagrammed.
- You suddenly have a new found appreciation for oddly shaped clouds and cloud formations, sunrises and sunsets, plants (especially flowers), buildings and cityscapes (oh these are a big hit on Instagram), food (I don’t think we need to discuss this one. If it doesn’t end up on Insagram, it probably wasn’t a good meal) et cetera.
- Mundane, every day objects have a lot of Instagram potential. By all means, snap that coffee mug on your office desk.
- You develop this morbid fear of posting bad photos. Instagrammers are unforgiving when it comes to that. No one will ❤ your pic. Maybe just Get1000FallowersNow (It actually is ‘fallowers’). You’re better off posting bad photos on Facebook. Or Twitter.
- Sometimes you will be caught in an awkward position as you try to take photos in public. People will think you’re a spy and associate you with the CIA (I need to stop making these random CIA references before I find myself on a watch list). Or worse, think you’re a terrorist. Maybe not, though you will get some weird stares as you try to take a photo of an awesome-looking building from a matatu window while parked in traffic.
- Family and friends who don’t know of Instagram will wonder why you feel the need to take photos of random objects and food. After you explain how Instagram works to them, they still won’t get it. Though they will be very helpful during your instagramming endeavours, sometimes ask you to take photos of them, the food they make and at times non-instagrammable objects, which you will politely decline.
- You’ll get a little excited every time seasoned photographers like @Truthslinger, @stevekitots and @LeonMuli, among others, like your Instagram photos. 😀
- You’ll go through your Instagram feed once in a while and wonder if you could quit your day job, become a photographer and travel the world. You will decide against it.
- You’ll discover that unlike on Facebook, liking someone’s photo from three months ago on Instagram is actually not that creepy or stalker-like, though it would be best if this happened just after you follow the said individual.
- You’ll become more appreciative of beauty and photography in general, and also learn a coupla cool tricks that will, with time enhance your photo-taking skills (if you’re keen enough, that is).
I have to applaud Kenya365 and everyone who’s been participating in the weekly photography challenges they put forward. It’s admirable, the way that Kenyans have taken to telling and documenting the Kenyan story through photography.
p.s. Interestingly, this post comes at a time when Instagram’s new Terms Of Service had caused an uproar on the interwebs, with people questioning whether or not the social network/photo sharing site intends to sell users photos to other parties without their consent. Personally, I would be thrilled to see the photo of that milkshake with the glow-in-the-dark straw I took a few days ago in an ad. I may embark on my photography career if that happens. Also, here’s my esteemed Instagram feed. 😉
What interesting observations have you made about Instagram?