The Bleak Reality of the Instagram Experience

Photography has long played a crucial role in how we shape the narrative of our lives. Milestones are documented, creating an archive that can be looked back on for years to come. But the value of facilitated photographs—whether a carnival’s fake backdrop of Niagara Falls or giant stilettos at the Happy Place—are a bit more difficult to parse. The photos are blatantly staged and not attached to important life events. Rather, they’re about creating evidence of having participated in a grandiose hypervisual event that mirrors that one-upmanship of social media.

But there is still a difference between old carnivals and the current crop of pop-up experiences. Carnivals and fairs always featured a range of activities for their guests—there were games, rides, prizes, and wonders of all kinds. Photos were a treat, a way to remember a well-rounded day. Guests at pop-up experiences appear to be there for one reason only: to document themselves in a place that has been carefully designed to give every attendee the exact same photos and, by extension, the same memories.

The Walrus

Despite social media, Generation Z, Millennials report feeling lonely

“Younger people are genuinely surprised to ever feel lonely and are really overwhelmed by it,” said Dawn Fallik, an associate professor at the University of Delaware in Newark who’s working on a book about loneliness.

She, along with Julianne Holt-Lunstad, of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, was scheduled to speak at SXSW Friday at two sessions called “Generation Lonely: 10,000 Followers and No Friends.” The close look at loneliness among these techno-connected young people drew so many registrants, SXSW this week added a repeat session at the end of the day.

“They’ve been surrounded by conversation their whole lives, so when that silence happens, they have a hard time just being in it and they take it that there’s something wrong,” Fallik said.

NBC News