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Image / Editorial

‘The Instagram ‘Ask Me a Question’ fad is another exercise in online vanity’


by Erin Lindsay
18th Jul 2018
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Instagram’s newest ‘Ask Me a Question’ update has Erin Lindsay at the end of her tether. But is there a sense of dejevu about this latest over-sharing, social media trend? 


If you’ve had a swipe through your Insta-Stories over the past 72 hours, you may well have swiped straight back off after being inundated with ‘Ask me a Question’ popups on every single screen. While nosiness might have pushed you past the initial aversion, the more “how did you get so many followers” and “what’s your makeup routine, your skin is flawless!” you saw popping up, the more your brain starting crying out for humanity. And I don’t blame you. I felt the same way.

Instagram’s latest feature for Insta-Stories has seen the vast majority of users on the platform taking full advantage, in a bid to show off just how interesting their lives are. Nothing new there. So interesting that they’re spending their evenings answering questions from strangers on social media about it. Insert eye roll emoji here.

Granted, the whole premise of social media is to share our lives with others – so why is this little feature more annoying than the rest?

Let’s rewind. If we think back to the heady days of the first selfies, or even the first Instagram Stories, a pattern emerges. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we’ve penned pretty much every social media phenomenon as a step too far for vanity, until it became so ingrained in our day-to-day scrolling that we just got used to it and moved on to the next.

It all started with the platforms themselves – sharing pictures of insignificant events in our lives on something called Instagram? It’ll never stick, we thought. Not to mention Twitter. “Who on earth wants to hear about what someone had for lunch?” we cried. Well, as it turns out, everyone.

In fact, we love hearing the inanities of other peoples lives, we can’t get enough of it. And even better if it means they’ll listen to the inanities of ours too. Social media has turned us into total narcissists, who tend to think of ourselves as far more interesting than we actually are.

Although you may get the odd nugget of information, these question time sessions are mostly just tiresome exercises in showing off. I will admit that when a person of interest, like someone with a unique career or a particularly ‘cool’ blogger, answers questions about their profession or their creative interests, I will eagerly tap through the answers. But when it’s just an ‘influencer’ who answers comments about how pretty she is with faux bashfulness, then it’s a no from me.

But get back to me in a week.