Samui Wining & Dining
Snap, Eat, Send!

Why people post so many food pictures on social media!

Why people post so many food pictures on social media!In 1993, the internet went public, and two years later, the first web browser, Netscape, appeared. In 1995, cell phones had shrunk and started to be affordable. Two years later, in 1997, Nokia came up with a built-in keyboard and SMS took off – later to become known as texting. The following year the World Wide Web took the world by storm. And a couple of years after that, Samsung put a digital camera in a cell phone. Blackberry produced a phone with a camera and web browser in 2003. And in 2004, Facebook arrived.

At each of these stages there were a few years of overlapped-dithering, while people found their feet. The teenage ‘web page’ (featuring ‘my mom’, ‘my dad’, ‘my dog’ and ‘my likes and dislikes’) slowly morphed into the Facebook page, containing exactly the same sort of aimless content. But the huge difference was that you could instantly change or add to your Facebook page with your phone. It was immediate and painless to update it, and you could do it on the move, anywhere, anytime.

And, after that revolutionary decade in the early ’90s, a new society and a different generation had emerged. Now you didn’t need to be accepted by a publisher to write a story or even a book. Now it wasn’t necessary for a bunch of old men a thousand miles away to approve your photos or not. Anyone, regardless of ability or talent (or despite the fact they actually had nothing to say!) could talk to the world. What you wrote, and the photos you took, went around the globe to a potential audience of millions. And that included photos of food – millions of them.

It’s been estimated there are now over 300 million food photos on Instagram alone. To put this into perspective, there are 57 million travel photos and 69 million sunsets. It’s only topped by selfies, of which there are currently 350 million. So what’s it all about? Why so much food?

Well, back through the many thousands of years before that pivotal decade of the ’90s, eating and sharing food was a bonding activity that strengthened family and social ties – and the psychic blueprint still seems to linger. Every one of us shares the commonality of food. And showing the world outside what you are enjoying eating is a psychological reach-out. It presumes that there’s going to be (and mostly achieves) a sympathetic response, bringing you closer to friends and family who are not geographically near. That’s the first and most-obvious answer. But there are other reasons and not all of them quite so direct.

Look how amazing I am. Look what a ‘bad boy’ I am. Can you believe I ate this! Gross! Look at this mess! Just look at what my parents are making me eat! Social media is the perfect cosmic clearing house for teenage angst and protest which no longer has to be suffered in alienated solitude: almost half of all habitual social media users are aged between 13 and 24.

This falters substantially in their next decade, as the usage of those aged between 25 and 36 drops down to 28%. And people much over 40 didn’t grow up as a part of the ‘texting generation’ anyway, and so deploy social media in a much broader and less-frequent way, usually as a social device (in lieu of emails and phone calls) to keep in touch and share news with wide-spread family and old friends.

And so we come to the holiday island of Samui. There are comparatively few teens and 20s on the island. And those that do come here with their family for a holiday are mostly impressed by the same sort of things. Thailand is strange in many ways. The food ranges from the disgusting (from a teen point of view) to the sublime. Street vendors and food markets full of oddities contrast spectacularly with the exotic Royal Thai Cuisine.

For every photo of the icon of Big Buddha, there’s sure to be 50 shots of weird and wonderful food-things to send to friends back home (along with the frenzy of non-stop selfies). It’s the one thing everyone can relate to and share – if you can eat it, you can snap it and send it!


Rob De Wet


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