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This week, my book to read has been Sarah Frier's No Filter, which is the story of the founding of Instagram and it's growth to a worldwide phenomenon that has changed the lifestyles of millions and the lives of hundreds of millions. Not ubiquitously for the better.

While the initial chapters felt more like I was reading the tabloids with a lot of name-dropping and number-dropping (about valuations) and little substance, the later chapters have certainly been an improvement. 

The emphasis on quality of not just the images posted, but of the activities and people that were posted about, acted as inspiration for a lot of people for a while. Seeing others in the world do wonderful things made people aspire to want to experience that better life themselves. 

However, as the product gained more users, this emphasis on high quality put a pressure on the users to start chasing moments that were "Instagram-worthy", entering a cycle of promoting increasingly unsustainable and unrealistic lifestyles. 

This opened the door to the disappearing images of Snapchat that completely removed this pressure and led to users being a lot more active and post a lot more pictures, not having to worry about whether they were a perfect to post.

In general, inspiring content follows the same cycle. 

When it is consumed in moderation and when it isn't ubiquitous, it inspires us and motivates us to do better and make changes. When it starts to turn ubiquitous and we see more and more people around us doing it (or pretending to do it), that turns the inspiration into a pressure to keep up with the others. Finally, once it becomes unsustainable to keep up, we quit consuming such content altogether and look to something else.

Like everything else, even inspiration needs to be done in moderation. 

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