LOS ANGELES — Instagram is all about self expression, capturing a moment and sharing it with fun filters.  Pinterest is also a form of self expression, a way to curate what you like into one page, thus broadcasting yourself to the world as a person of taste (or lack thereof, if that’s your goal).

And yet, scrolling through either site, I’m often struck by the similarity of different people’s modes of self-expression. Instagram in particular seems to attract common images: the concert shot, the cool sunset, the fun self-portrait with friends. You might say there’s a certain Instagram aesthetic, nudged along by the specific filters it provides for users.

That’s what I love about two new Twitter accounts, and I’m sure there are more that follow this meme. Take @textinstagram a text-only Instagram account. Without pictures, it automatically evokes the classic Instagram photos. We know, without seeing, what we should be seeing.!/textinstagram/status/195897353524346881!/textinstagram/status/195534962131337216

The same is true of @picturelesspins, a text-only Pinterest account:!/PicturelessPins/status/195972046637907968!/PicturelessPins/status/195173911166582784

And, late to the game, @TextBasedTumblr:!/TextBasedTumblr/status/195961820572418049

You could say, perhaps, that Instagram in particular is defining an aesthetic — a New Aesthetic, you might call it — by which see ourselves and our world. This aesthetic is so embedded within us that we just needs words to bring it about.  Which begs the question: could text-only accounts exist for other computer-enabled aesthetics?

AX Mina (aka An Xiao Mina) is an author, artist and futures thinker who follows her curiosity. She co-produces Five and Nine, a podcast about magic, work and economic justice. 

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