A growing ecosystem of Instagram accounts has embraced this text-heavy posting style, which has exploded in popularity with Gen Z users during the pandemic. The trend has transformed Instagram, the photo- and video-based app owned by Facebook, into a microblogging network and a destination for written expression.
Many of these Instagram accounts, with absurd names like @ripclairo, @ botoxqueen.1968 and @carti_xcx, may seem casual to the casual observer. However, there are similarities between the accounts. Most include screenshots of text on top of photos, taken with the anonymous confession app Whisper or Instagram’s “Create” mode, which allows people to design text posts on gradient backgrounds. The posts are also interspersed with unacredited images, viral videos, and humorous content.
“Just post your thoughts,” said Mia Morongell, 20, creator of the @ lifes.a.bender Instagram account, which has amassed more than 134,000 followers. “It’s like Twitter, but for Instagram. It is like a blog where you are transmitting personal thoughts and feelings. “
For years, Twitter served this very purpose, with the hottest tweets repackaged and forwarded by meme accounts and influencers on Instagram. Twitter, recognizing this change, opened its own Instagram account in 2017 and has made it easier for users to share tweets like Instagram Stories.
But Twitter posts are limited to 280 characters. And for Gen Z users, the combination of text, tools like the Whisper app, and Instagram’s Create mode have blended into a viral alchemy that resonates with their age group.