Instagram was launched in 2010 as a photo-sharing application designed to capture picturesque moments of our mundane lives. Since then, it has become a complete social network, a messaging tool and an advertising platform, which exists in mobile and desktop spaces.
Now, most Instagram users opt for the mobile experience, full of their family movements: scroll, double tap for likes, scrolling, scrolling. But we were struck by the fact that there is a population of Instagram users who really prefer the web browser version. Which is superior? We invite our colleagues from Racked, Eliza Brooke and Alanna Okun to resolve the debate.
Eliza: It's Friday afternoon, so I'd like to fight.
Alanna: say more.
Eliza: I love Instagram on the desktop. I think this is an unpopular opinion.
"I'd like to fight."
Alanna: It is! The only other person I know who prefers desk-gram is my mother. Who is a very intelligent and knowledgeable lady of technology! But like, also my mom, then.
Eliza: I think my mother too. So, to begin with, Instagram is great on the desktop because the images are huge, and because it does not move that fast, it really takes time to consider them. It's like a magazine. This also means that you really discover who you hate afterwards. You can not remove the pictures of Donna's food crap as you do in the app. Eventually you will end up leaving her aside, and that will improve your life.
Alanna: Look, but that's what I like about mobile devices: the lack of commitment. I have more options in the photos where I stop (and I zoom) and which I move just as I go by. The idea of an image that occupies a large screen is intimidating! I like the privacy and comfort of the mobile, these small windows in the lives of people. And although I have reduced my number of hateful followers in my advanced age, I do keep some for purposes of jealousy and self-medication.
Eliza: So, two things in response to that. In the first place, the fact that the images occupy the full screen on the desktop means that you have to take into account who is around you and possibly look over your shoulder. It's like opening the hatch in all your embarrassing lifestyle aspirations. I could say the same about using the app on the subway, but it is easier to tilt the phone screen away from prying eyes. Two, I find that the desk gives me a bit of psychic space from the people I'm jealous of, while the intimacy of a phone makes me feel that I'm literally closer to my envy. As if he was grabbing my bad and rude secret in my chest.
Alanna: We're making it look like we're the most cowardly perverts in the world in Insta.
Eliza: When we are literally just looking at the apartment decoration of [cool writer’s name redacted].
Alanna: God, I want your life.
Eliza: So much! Another great thing about Instagram on the desktop is that you're much less likely to have someone's photos while you're stalking them.
"I HAVE MADE absolutely an embarrassing 112 weeks in accidental faving"
Alanna: Ok, then, even though I did absolutely some embarrassing weeks of accidental favelas, that's not enough to convince me to switch to the desk. I even like the emotion of the mobile? It's like the old Operation of the board game, where you have to throw meticulously pieces and pieces of your involuntary patient.
Eliza: My parents did not instill in me good risk management when I was a child. I have done what you are looking for through someone's photos, you abandon your profile, you are immediately filled with fear that you have accidentally preferred something, RETURN to your profile to make sure you did not like something, and so on. It never ends.
Alanna: Another thing I do not understand about your method is that half of Instagram's joy for me is its portability; I'm not going to lie, I'm not reluctant to take my phone to the bathroom with me. In fact, part of the way I forced myself to start flossing every night was when I started saving Instagram stories to watch while doing it.
Eliza: You have many more life hackers than me.
Photo of James Bareham / The Verge
Alanna: And this is actually psychotic, but I think Instagram is like my "unplug" platform. Like when I'm in bed and I finish everything with Twitter, email and Facebook for the day, I change to the more passive and numbing roll of Tumblr and Instagram. I know that this is terrible for my REM, brain and other cycles, but I can not help it! It brings me peace
Eliza: I love it. I really struggle with Instagram's self-control. A few months ago, my boyfriend, who does not have Instagram (and somehow regretfully agreed to let me post pictures of him if I really want to, so I never do), he told me that every time I take my phone, the first thing I do is open Instagram. Apparently, sometimes I realized, half a second later, that I did not really want Instagram and erase it, but I always went first. Clearly, I have a problem. I delete the application from my phone probably three times a week, and in its absence, the desktop version is a pleasant and less addictive middle ground. I consume Instagram in a much more moderate way now. That's a big part of why I prefer the desk.
The desktop version is a pleasant, less addictive middle ground
Alanna: That makes a lot of sense; I realize that my reasoning for preferring mobile is also a testament to my full-blown addiction. Is there anything you miss about the mobile version when you are at the desk?
Eliza: I miss the DM. The application can be a really fun frenzy to tag your friends and send them things that you know they'll love or that you can gut each other. But it is also overwhelming, and you begin to feel that you owe something to people. The desk is a quieter space. You can not post photos on the desktop either, which makes it a much more passive experience. I usually download the application again when I have something that I desperately need the world to see. And when you want to share an Instagram post with a friend, you really have to go the extra mile and copy that link to include your iMessage conversation.
Alanna: I think what attracts me, healthily or not, is the endless feedback cycle of publication, get faves and followers, and feel validated and something, but that can cause a lot of fatigue. And when a picture does not work the way you expect it (kill me!) Or when the glow fades from a recent hit (kill me twice!), It leaves you feeling … cold. Not to mention the somewhat sinister nature of the Facebook-owned apps in general; I have always assumed that all my data was being mined and sold, but even as my discomfort grows with that, I still feel quite helpless in their enslavement.
Maybe we should throw our phones and computers into the East River?
Eliza: let's do it !!! But my laptop is owned by Vox Media.
On what platform do you prefer to use Instagram?
11 votes in total