I also may not be using “shade” correctly in its verb form.

I’m not sure when or why it happened, but “throwing shade” has become a colloquial way of saying that someone insulted you. It’s usually reserved for celebrities, because I guess when you’re famous being denied sunlight is about as confrontational as it gets. Prior to yesterday, my own experience with being shaded has normally involved an errant cloud or a particularly leafy tree, but when I Instagrammed a picture of a grape that fell under my desk, everything changed.

Now, I’m sure you might be wondering (understandably) why any person would think a fallen grape would be worthy of Instagram. I’ve mentioned this before, but I suck at Instagram. My room is too messy to take selfies in my full-length mirror, my cat doesn’t always find himself in Kodak-worthy hijinks, and since I’m a meat and potatoes kinda gal, my plate isn’t often a pitifully-portioned culinary masterpiece with delicious glaze being wasted for the sake of decorating the outer rim of the plate. I’m pretty sure the fact that I don’t drink fancy lattes (or any coffee at all) probably qualifies me for exile from the Instagram community. So rather than use the VSCO Cam app and establish an Instagram “aesthetic” that portrays only the most beautiful aspects of my existence, I post random a lot of random conversations and pictures of things that most people would just save in their phone forever for no reason and never look at it again (seriously, go into your phone right now–you have at least one purposeless picture).

Shortly after I posted my grape picture, @insta_chicago, a fairly popular Instagram account (15,000 followers) that posts gorgeous, quality photos of Chicago, commented on my picture. Just to give you an idea of the caliber of photos you’d find on @insta_chicago, feast your eyes on these:

Submitted by @cyaxz
Submitted by @cyaxz
Submitted by @cyaxz
Submitted by @cyaxz
Submitted by @hzivanod
Submitted by @hzivanod

I admit to being a little surprised when I saw that of all people who could comment on this dumb picture of mine, this was the person who had something to say about my aesthetically questionable grape shot. Keep in mind that @insta_chicago did not “like” my picture. There was no double tap, just a comment. Instagram likes don’t exactly ooze sincerity, but a “like” might have softened the blow of this comment:

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 5.04.09 AM

A lot of people would probably take that as an empty compliment and move on with their lives, but when I read between the lines of that comment, I realized that “Nice one!” really meant:

What a horribly banal photo of something no one cares about but you (and even that’s debatable). I can’t believe you would plague your innocent followers with something so dreadfully boring. This is by far one of the worst photos ever captured in the history of the universe, and I’m reporting this to Instagram before you have the opportunity to expose your power strip to any other innocent dilettantes.

Yeah, it stung.

But here’s where it gets interesting: this user isn’t following me on Instagram. He or she seriously doesn’t even go here. In fact, that account isn’t following anyone. It’s one of those crowdsourced accounts where people tag “@insta_chicago” when they think his or her skyline picture is worthy of being featured. I myself have tagged this user in a few Chicago snapshots in the past, but how did @insta_chicago come across this grape picture of mine? Did I appear in his or her Explore tab? Was the seemingly shadeful “Nice one!” prompted by stupefied disappointment that instead of stunning pictures of The Windy City, he or she was exposed to the sordid underbelly of my desk?

I suppose I could ask all these questions, but I’m not a point in my life where I want to actually ask someone if he or she is low-key insulting me on Instagram. Besides, it feels so much more adult to post all my conjecture on my blog, effectively spending more energy worrying about it than I would have if I had just followed up with a comment of my own.

Maybe it’s all a misunderstanding. Maybe @insta_chicago is in over his or her head, and deep down they wish they had the freedom to Instagram pictures of fallen fruit like me, but they can’t because 15,000+ followers expect to see beautiful pictures of Chicago all the time. Instead of a petulant Insta-snob, @insta_chicago is a victim of circumstance! A stifled artist caught between the Instagram account they never dreamed they’d achieve and the Instagram account they truly want!

I stand my grape photo, and I don’t think an Instagram account that doesn’t even post its own pictures is qualified to shade me or anyone else for that matter (except maybe a small dog standing in his or her shadow). More importantly, I don’t think we should be splitting hairs about what people post on Instagram in the first place, because isn’t it all just different forms of self-aggrandizing garbage anyway? (Not that your latte, your manicure, and your infant daughter don’t look positively scrumptious.)

PS: If you’re looking for lots of creative and beautiful pictures of Chicago, @insta_chicago is pretty cool. They may or may not have shaded my grape photo, but I still respect their Instagram hustle.

12 thoughts on “I Think I Got Shaded On Instagram

  1. I don’t know…i kind of read it as “nice one” as in “one grape” and being silly…but I don’t follow them or know their normal tone, so I’ll go with your interpretation.

  2. I think you’re grape shot is an artistic expression of the modernisation of our society’s need to connect *strokes chin, looks intense*

    not really – but it does look like a very tasty grape so I am devastated it was on the floor. 5 second rule?
    x

  3. It could be that @insta_chicago is paying for followers and publicity and whatever company he paid is posting sporadically. But what ever screw them. Be your sassy self and post 100 pictures of grapes on the ground and then tag them in every single one. That’s what I would of done. 😈

  4. Perhaps they just meant “Nice one!” as in “Nice one!” *Shrugs.
    I think if I would’ve taken that picture of the lonesome grape and someone said “Nice one!” I would pat myself on the back and say, “Yeah, it was.” 🙂

    Don’t let @intsa_chicago get you down…I think it’s a fine picture with a funny comment and poop on them if they think otherwise.

  5. Hi Katie, I think your grape photo is really funny, as in funny ha ha. I love true-to-life random photos of the life that actually happens (ie, grapes falling out of mouths) rather than constant aesthically styled photos. Keep posting your stuff!

  6. Hey, you post whatever the hell you want to on your Instagram…I follow you and think your random shit has a fair place in the Insta-world. They can snub their non-existant nose at you but some people appreciate random, odd photos out of people’s days rather than a skyline they’ve seen millions of times already. So pfft on the haters. 😛

  7. They have an auto program set up to comment that on random pictures based on where people are photographing from, and certain key hashtags – so any random pic could get that tag.

Don't you sass me! ...Actually, please do.

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