There are no new ideas. There are iterations of old ideas and once in a blue moon, innovation and creativity align and we’re presented with a really good refreshed take on an old idea that feels brand new. We know this and it’s okay.
However some of us pretend we don’t know that. Some of us are inspired by other people’s ideas and are moved to replicate those ideas to a T.
So it should come as no surprise that a cheeky Instagram account should emerge showing us all how non-creative we all are. @insta_repeat currently boasts 271,000 followers and promises “Deja Vu Vibes.”
Scrolling through the feed, you’ll find pics of faceless longhaired girls wearing hats staring a foggy evergreens, a bunch of someones in bright red jackets solo canoeing on still lakes on misty mornings and white, disembodied hands holding out orange leaves against forests during golden hour.
On Instagram, imitation truly is the sincerest form of aspiration and as cheeky and eye roll inducing this account is, there’s something deeper behind it.
Here’s the thing – creative impulses have become more and more homogenous and this is because we have inspiration at our fingertips and in our pockets at all times. We no longer have to search for inspiration because it’s just a few scrolls and swipes away and this lends itself to hard replication.
For example, some of us remember a time before the Internet and certainly before social media, when if you wanted to find out about a new band thousands of miles away from your tiny town, you had to go to into the nearest city and find the weirder record store and search the stacks to find their album.
The same goes for fashion. A lot of us subscribed to magazines and literally waited out the month to get our next fix.
In that searching came waiting and during the waiting, came inspiration and time to create something new or at the very least, something informed by what we were taking in. But now, there is no waiting, there is only consuming. When content is free and easy to access, there is no digestion period. There is only more content and an increased urge to replicate the idea as closely to the original as possible.
The homogenization is seen in makers and crafts fairs all the time.
Go to any of them in Austin, for example, and you’ll find it hard to swing a dead cat and not hit succulents in whimsical pots, delicate thin metal jewelry, and rustic leather goods. We also see the same blue or pink cakes being cut into at gender reveal parties, and a lot of us went to weddings lit by fairy lights and were forced to drink out mason jars.
Trends become trends because they inspire replication because they are aspirational. And this is fine.
Not everyone can be punk rock. Not even punk rock.
Further, Google and Microsoft has spent exorbitant amounts of money to stitch together users’ “repetitive” pictures from across the globe to create interactive, multi-dimensional scenes you can explore online. But what do they know!?
So should @insta_repeat stop you from snapping a picture of the sun setting over the Grand Canyon or taking that pic of your bent legs on the beach that let’s everyone know you’re enjoying your trip to that resort in Tulum everyone goes to?
No, it shouldn’t, because at least you’re creating or trying to create and that’s more than what a lot of people do with their free time. So go out there, wrap yourself in a serape and see the world.
Hates gonna hate, but who cares? Not you, Hot Dog Legs.