It feels like I've dissed pretty much every major social media brand known to mankind. Isn't it time we stopped faffing about on Facebook? I asked in 2012.
But then last year I discovered Instagram. Two friends had earlier enthused about this photo-sharing network; they spoke highly of the gorgeous photos and the relaxed, happy vibe.
Then one day I texted a horse photo to one of these friends. "Me got new horse," I wrote. My friend replied: "Love xx" and added three smiley-face-with-hearts-for-eyes emojis.
And just like that, for no particular reason, I understood that sharing photos by text was ... like ... so 2015. So I downloaded the Instagram app, opened an account and posted that same equine photo.
Since then I've shared over 200 photos and acquired over 600 followers. But being in sole charge of an Instagram account isn't always straightforward. There have been a few dilemmas to deal with. Here are six issues I've pondered.
ONE: The pointlessness
So why exactly was I posting a daily horse photo (or, occasionally, a video)? What was the purpose? It took a shift of mindset for me to acknowledge that there isn't really much point at all. It's just a bit of fun. I do it simply because I want to. So there.
TWO: Language barriers
Some of my followers post in a language other than English. Although there is a translation function, it doesn't always work and I usually can't be bothered using it anyway. I still think of the photo of a man standing in front of two women who were wearing traditional headdresses. Despite the fact I didn't understand the accompanying words, I "liked" the image - and crossed my fingers that the caption didn't read: "These are two slaves I purchased at market. I hope they survive longer than the last pair."
THREE: Our fondness for "likes"
Instagram users are addicted to likes. Some of my photos get more than one hundred! When I opened an account, I encouraged my thirteen-year-old to do the same. Whenever I ask her to put down the book she's reading and get on her technology so she can like my newest photo on Instagram, I wonder (not for the first time) what sort of mother I am.
FOUR: The accidental "liking"
It is ridiculously easy to accidentally like a photo while you are covertly perusing someone's Instagram account. It takes just one misplaced thumb on the iPhone and you've attracted the attention of someone you pretend not to know exists. There are multiple forums online for people who've made this mistake while stalking someone. Their mortification is extreme. Some of them consider leaving the country.
FIVE: The "decoy-brag"?
Some Instagrammers indulge in an activity that shall henceforth be known as decoy-bragging. Here's one example: Someone posts a photo of their fingernails along with a caption about their fancy manicure. But their hand happens to be resting on a car steering-wheel which has the logo of a luxury model at its centre. Ha, they fooled you. This is about showing off the expensive car not the manicure.
The classic decoy-brag is related to the humble-brag but it usually lacks a complaint or self-deprecating aside. Another decoy-brag occurs when people post photos of airline boarding passes to an exotic location. The single-digit seat numbers reveal they're travelling in business or first. Ha, they fooled you into thinking they were just boasting about their holiday but they were actually revealing that they don't slum it in economy. Except, wait a minute; they're fooling precisely zero people. In fact, they're earning the contempt of all who see it. No one likes a decoy-bragger.
SIX: My failed account
As a wry commentary on the fact that most Instagram images record only beautiful moments, I created an account dedicated to the less glamorous side of life. The photos I posted included: dust freshly harvested from the vacuum cleaner, anti-nit shampoo and a nit comb, a sink full of dirty drinking glasses - and the very messy, unappealing remains of a yum cha lunch. I captioned these with inspirational words (such as: "Living the dream") and untruths (such as: "I love vacuuming Mondays").
But I was quickly able to tell that my audience had missed the tongue-in-cheek attitude. When people started liking my ugly photos and leaving nice comments, I felt like the mean girl playing a nasty joke. I shut down the account and decided to stick with the horses.