The consumption of a city has now a new facet: “How instagramable is it?”. A few weeks ago the list of The Most Instagrammed Cities of 2017 was published and it let us thinking why that ranking is relevant today. That list is not related with the one of the most visited, or the most beautiful, or the most liveable, yet it is very characteristic of our time.
Cities are easily recognised by their skyline: a human mark on the horizon that shows how the city has conquered the sky. But nowadays, just as the urban life has been accelerated, the city’s perception doesn’t stay as static as a simple line with some picks. In the era in which we have the whole world at our fingertips, cities become a dynamic sequence of images we scroll through. It reminds the early days of the animation in which by means of a zoetrope, viewers could see characters coming to life through narrow apertures. Today we can see cities coming to life through the screens of our smartphones.
This has been used by social media to enhance our image on Internet. We use metropolis as backgrounds to go with our mood, facial expression, caption or message to the world. We not only use the ‘city zoetrope’ to have a sense of a city, we use it to put ourselves in the middle and let net users have a sense of our online reputation. Tourists and citizens wander through the streets looking for the perfect spot to take a selfie and express themselves. Social media platforms, such as Instagram, are creating hotspots all over the world that insure their accounts with a great number of interactions and followings. That’s why being instagramable has become relevant for cities, it shows how an urban space can cater the need of social media users to present themselves and keep their followers interested.
Cities don’t become more popular by having a more distinctive skyline but by being the most geotagged. The sky used to be the field in which cities would compete to raise themselves higher and show their strength. The field is now the “cloud” and the race consists in having a higher number of mentions.