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A few weeks ago, Instagram introduced a new 'ask me anything' feature where users can ask each other questions. On the surface, it does sound like a harmless feature, but the social media platform just got way more interactive with this new question sticker.

The new Instagram feature might come across as annoying to some, but it actually reveals the reality of what social media has become. A feature that people seem to like because who does not love to talk about themselves?

As social media evolves, it somewhat increases for the worst and loudest impulses of humanity and we need to stop and think: what the fuck are we actually doing here? Instagram's newest feature, a simple sticker that users can add to their Instagram Story that invites their mere followers to "ask a question," users' then provide the answers, but those answers can sometimes not exactly be the answer they're looking for...

Unlike the predecessors such as Formspring and Honesty Box – that explored our obsession with online anonymity – the Instagram 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) feature evades the anonymity and ugliness that can be revealed by the other user's true online identity. Using this feature reminds us of a begone time when we genuinely enjoyed communicating with strangers on the internet and all the wonderful weirdness that ensued.

As soon as the Instagram feature rolled out, there was naturally a flood of eye-rolls from all corners of social media. "As if Insta stories weren't annoying enough, now there's "Ask me anything" feature available yay..." one Twitter user tweeted. According to Taylor Lorenz, a technology writer for Atlantic, "It's the most invasive, obnoxious thing,". "I used to be able to find fun, real-time updates about my friends' lives, now it just slides after slide of dumb questions and boring answers. Spamming your friends with an endless feed of self-indulgent answers is a one-way ticket to unfollowland for me." Lorenz continued.

However, the comments did not stop there. The release of the Instagram feature left users dissatisfied, especially on Reddit and Twitter:



While it might be vexatious to see a flood of trivial answers to idiotic questions, there is no doubt that the new question sticker has sent Instagram Story thirst level through the roof. The brazen display of narcissism that social media encourages are most interesting; does it beg the question that we post these questions and selfies because we are self-obsessed? Or do we use social media because we are animals who get off on people paying attention to us? Either way, we like to think about ourselves, and we like to learn about what other people think of us. That is why so many people cannot get enough of the "Ask Me Anything" feature.

In the weeks since the feature launched, people have seen their Stories dominated by questions. Some users have become so frustrated by the endless feeds of questions that some report they've blocked their own friends and family. Social media is supposed to create a connection between people, content and businesses that we did not have a decade ago but, like all good things, there is a dark side to it. And the dark side of social media is the perception of perfection.

With Instagram's AMAs, your content is shamelessly about you, and only YOU, and we might imagine the transparency of it all can be painful to some. Whether it is or not, it is up to you to decide, however, a downside of this feature is that it enables anyone on the platform to use (or potentially abuse) it. Your responses can be openly shared in another Stories post, so you might want to be careful about what you share or ask...

You know that saying about the gun? "It's not the gun, but it's the finger on the trigger", basically it isn't the question feature itself that's so bad, but its the obnoxious way that people use it. Most people will pose the default 'ask me anything' to their audience of friends, who then reply with inside jokes or generic questions like "How tall are you?" or "Why are you so cool lol?" The user will then post responses to these uninteresting questions in individual slides, encouraging you to tap through pages and pages of mediocre material.

This seems like just another cheap gimmick for Instagram to get more users to interact with their app. But according to Instagram, "This sticker is an easy way to start conversations and get closer with your friends on Instagram – it’s great for those moments when you don’t necessarily have something to share but want to connect and get to know your friends even better."

However, the only thing this feature is doing for the users of Instagram is forcing them to use it. It is a new feature, so curiosity is bound to take over and users will be encouraged to engage even more with the app, and end up spending more time on social media. Instagram users get sucked into the pattern of checking what has happened since they posted their question sticker. The feature also seems ripe for abuse, so it will be interesting to see how Instagram handles cyber-bullying with this latest feature.

The Instagram Ask Me Anything feature might reveal us for what we are. It seems that while followers are fine with watching your life and liking your selfies (arguably, an equally narcissistic behaviour), the "ask a question" feature might take the egotistical conduct a step too far. But there is something worth investigating here, plus people are coming up with new and creative ways for it every day. And if – for some obvious reason – you do not like that, then who knows? perhaps it is time to log off.

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