If you look at it as a social tool, a way to get connected with friends, seeing personal pictures and vacation shots, then please follow as many as you like.
But if you’re an artist, or specifically a visual artist, that use it as a place get your inspirations, you need to be careful about who you follow on the service.
I realized this I think three or more years ago, when I begin to realise that I don’t like the images in my feed.
The first obstacle, of course, is ‘sungkan’. Ga enakeun. “I know the guy well, how would he feels if he knows I unfollowed him.”
But I finally decided that my taste, my visual pallete, my sword for the battles of my life is a lot more important than someone that is not mature enough feeling bad about themselves.
So I started unfollowing people.
Dear good friends that I know well and are amazing people but posted pictures that is not in the style that I want to build myself and my carreer.
I know some didn’t like it when they found out, but I say to them, “I think there’s no correlation in being a follower in Instagram with being a true friend in real life, and I am sorry if you do not feel that way :). I deeply value our friendship, but not your taste in photography/styling, and those are two very different things.”
A few people might still be offended until now (which makes them bad friends in the first place, hehehe) – but most of my friends don’t seem to be bothered at all (I hang out with grown-ups, y’know).
You see, we artists/designers/creators – we create things based on the inspirations in our heads.
And our heads create these inspirations by mashing up the memory banks in our brain.
And the brain get their memory banks filled with what we see.
And we see what we choose to follow, view, stalk, and learn from.
If you are someone whose aspirations is to create something original, something great and something worth talking about, then it is not okay to follow just about anybody. Be it anybody you know, be it feeds that are popular, or be it anybody you find cool.
I follow people’s Instagram based on their feed, whether it is giving me the right inspirations and whether it is making me visually richer, not whether I know the guy or not. I have Facebook for that.
I don’t know whether you realize this very simple truth: Your style and ideas is always a manifestation of what you see in the magazines, blogs, and yes (mainly since it is glued to our hands now), the people you follow on Instagram.
When a brief/goal/project/opportunity was handed to you, when people ask you, the creative guy, to make/build something, it is the flashing images in our heads that start the process that ultimately will be a finished product, signed by you.
Be careful about those flashing images.
Instagram is one of the great inventions where people can get inspirations like tsunamis hitting the shores.
But if you’re not careful, you’re going to be washed up in insignificance like million others instead of riding the wave like the very few.