Once upon time, we were introduced to a quaint little app called Instagram. We were charmed by its simplicity, its visual focus, its nostalgia-inducing effects. Instagram has grown to boast hundreds of millions of users, and now runs ads in its stream. There’s video. It’s owned by Facebook. This is certainly not the same “little app that could.
And more power to ’em, I say. The creators made a thing we all fell in love with, and they should reap their rewards. The problem I have is not with the evolution and arguable “selling out” of Instagram – it’s with the economy it spawned as a result.
Call it the “Instagram of Things” if you will. As Instagram has matured, a market has sprung up around it – a market of putting the app’s images on real-life objects. At first, it all made sense: Canvas, photos, photo books. Then we saw Insta-entrepreneurs thinking outside the box – coasters, pillow cases, magnets. Then things got stranger yet, with cookies and chocolate being added to the list of Instagram-bearing projects.
But now – now – the Instagram printing business has put on its leather jacket, skis, and hitched a ride behind that speed boat. The shark has been jumped … because now you can print your Instagram images onto marshmallows.
I like to think about how start-ups come up with some of their ideas, but this one evades me. There’s nothing wrong with marshmallows, and there’s nothing wrong with Instagram, but we’ve clearly taken things too far, everyone. And didn’t we maybe skip a few steps along the way? Aren’t there a variety of other products that should have been pitched before we got to marshmallows? I really thought wall decals would come first.
(Sidenote: Am I so irreparably uncool that these already exist and I missed it?)
It just seems beyond insane to print an image on a piece of glorified sugar that will be consumed within moments.
But that’s the world we live in now – enjoying idle, pointless seconds of beautiful things that we then devour (either literally or metaphorically … in this case, literally), and must replace with the next pointless, consumable, beautiful thing.
So screw it – I clearly can’t beat ’em (damn, how I’ve tried), and I’m very willing to join ’em. That said, here are my ideas for the next wave of Instagram printing products. (Again, I am so terrified these already exist and I’m about to out myself as a foolish old hag. I might as well go watch Everybody Loves Raymond until I die.)
I’m sorry, who wants boring, plain white T.P.? Oh I know: poor people. I want to wipe with that picture of the sun breaking through the trees – which is also a nice reminder to recycle, because those trees probably contributed to this toilet paper. And the circle of life continues.
Admittedly, I do not understand manicures. I have, instead, chosen a life of biting my nails, so much so that I’ve never cut them with a nail trimmer (really, yes really, yes I’m a monster). But what I do understand is that ladies with nice nails will sometimes pay obscene amounts of money to make them look nicer with paint! Thus, the Instagram manicure. Manicurists with inexplicably tiny hands will recreate Instagrams of breakfasts and concerts onto the precious dead cells that are your nails.
I’m from Portland, Oregon, so someone there is probably already doing this (which means someone in Brooklyn will soon be like, “Oh man I’m totally going to do that too, and also I love Pendleton jackets!” Ooh, slam on Brooklyn! I went there.) But hipsters of all varieties will get down with this idea. I can just see one smoking substances – legal and illegal – rolled in papers that have been printed with photos of taxidermied deer heads from that ironic weekend at a cabin resort, knowing he really is better than everyone else. While twisting the ends of his handlebar mustache just so. Just … so.
Personalized Instagram toaster
I’m the proud owner of a toaster the prints the Trail Blazer’s insignia on my bread, so I know that this is within the realm of possibility. Here’s an Instagram image I took, as the most meta proof ever.
But someone, somewhere, is trying to craft a digital toaster that you can connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Then, all you need to do is upload your Instagram images to the toaster (perhaps using the hashtag #printmuhbread even?) and out it comes. Yes, filters will be lost in the process and maybe your butter will only melt over the toasted parts but who cares?! You know that’s a picture of your hotel room from Cabo and that’s all that matters! Mmmm, taste that? That’s what winning tastes like.
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