Instagram is a strange beast. The only rational ways to think about it is as a pure expression of vanity and something everyone does it. That includes just about all of us who drink craft beer.
For an ongoing series, Ben Johnson, Tara and Crystal Luxmore and I are going to each take a shot at the same topic and then post our article on it at roughly the same time. First up, what beers don’t we post on Instagram?
My answer is slightly complicated by the fact that I post to two IG accounts, my own and the Growler’s. I’ve been at the wheel of the former for much longer, so my answer relates (mostly) to my evolving experience with beer on Instagram.
Here are my guidelines for what beers I don’t post on Instagram.
Beer with exploitive labels doesn’t make my feed. The good litmus test I’ve heard is “if the woman on a label (it’s almost always a woman) looks like she doesn’t want to be there, like she’s not getting anything out of the experience, it’s inappropriate.” My understanding is evolving, so it’s possible I haven’t always met this mark, but I think my feeds are fairly close to free from this form of juvenile marketing.
Why post a boring beer on social media? There’s a big distinction between a bad beer and a boring one; between a flawed beer from a small brewery (boring) and an intentionally mediocre one with a marketing juggernaut behind it (interesting). I know Insta is a visual medium, but I still want to have a conversation and that’s not worthwhile if the subject is boring.
Equally, there’s only so many times I can complain about the same thing. You don’t always need to see the yellow fizz water I’m forced to drink at major sports venues. For a bunch of diverse reasons, Instagram should be selective and not a running list of the things we do.
Dirty glassware disqualifies a beer photo. There’s now an Instagram account devoted to hunting these photos down. But for some time, colleagues like Jordan St. John have inspired me to clench before hitting “Post” and wonder if they’ll slide into a photo’s comment to point out the bubble-covered glass.
My third (or fourth…) beer of the night almost never makes it online, at least not that day. For a long time, I was a Blackberry hold-out (that’s another episode) and there wasn’t an app for BB, so I had a complicated process for taking photos and later posting them. This long-gone experience taught me the value of reflecting on social media posts and also on being in the moment. It’s back to the idea of having conversations rather blurting. Also, as beer writers, I think we should do what we can to promote responsible consumption and that partly means keeping the rare celebration offline.
That’s where I’m at on beer photos non grata on Instagram. I look forward to reading the other takes on the issue and to reading your thoughts in the comments below.
Lead photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash.