Instagram: we’ve been doing it all wrong

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In this post tech-bubble ecosystem we are, for an overwhelmingly fat part, bottomless feeders. No, we are not eating nonstop, though we are certainly eating way more than our grandparents did. What we can’t get enough of, however, is that intangible feed that stretches on into the endless abyss beyond the southernmost limit of your screen.

Yet despite doing backstrokes all day every day in this sea of information, we are starved.

Why?

Because the feed is junk.

Yes, Instagram, Facebook, and all those other Gen-Y habitats make information so liquid, so accessible, and so abundant, but with such high traffic, one thing became indispensable – selection. Not in expanding (we’ve already gone off the charts with that), but in narrowing, because too much choice stresses us out and even though getting that tenth like still feels synonymous to touching your toes in the morning, it’s in these platforms’ interest to generate as many likes as possible.

If you’re not convinced, think of the extreme case: if a contributor never got a single like despite consistent postings, would he be inclined to continue? Probably not, because he could probably post on an alternative platform an gain a greater following.

So these platforms got really smart, and learned from the users. Who has their attention? What did they like? What did they search for? Every reaction that results in a click becomes a data point that’s used to generate a feed that’s more in tune with your history of reactions, more interesting to you. But don’t take my word for it, ask Insta.

Now, for anyone who’s at all into statistics (but don’t worry if you’re not, what follows isn’t rocket science), when trying to estimate a parameter from a random sample, the bigger the sample, the better your estimate. In other words, Instagram takes all your clicks, and from those, computes a range for your interests. It then projects you a feed based on that range of what it thinks you’d like. You’re happy too, because you’re seeing all the stuff that you usually like, and you click away in autopilot glee.

This happens over and over again, like the circle of life. And as your collection of likes grows, that range becomes ever smaller and your likes become ever more concentrated around a single subject because that’s all your feed feeds you. This results in an even narrower range. At this point, Insta knows a ton about your preferences and can pretty much pinpoint your sweet spot.

Guess what your feed looks like now?

Yup, everything is what you like. Everything is the same. Everything reflects you.

What you once thought was supposed to broaden our creative minds now projects our very selves back at us. Yup, Socrates would have been all over this.

Is there a way out? I would suggest two, both equally implausible. One: give zero information, so no liking, no following, no searching by hashtags. Or two: be completely unbiased in what you react to, so like everything, follow everything, and search up every word in the dictionary and the urban dictionary. Or three: if you like the way your feed looks that much…

then baby you should go and love yourself.

For if anyone thinks

he is something,

when

he is nothing,

then

he deceives himself.

Galatians 6:3

Honey Lemon Tart with Honey Chantilly and Honeycomb
Honey Lemon Tart with Honey Chantilly and Honeycomb

Honey Almond Pate Sablée

  • 2 c AP flour
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp light honey
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. Place the flour, butter, and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, honey, and almond extract.
  3. Add the egg mixture into the dry mixture and pulse until a soft dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and pat it into an inch-thick disc. Wrap tightly and freeze for 20 minutes.
  5. Unwrap the dough and roll it out to 0.5 cm thick, dusting with flour as needed. Press it into a fluted 9 or 10-inch tart tin. Don’t worry if the dough rips – just trim the edges and use the scraps to patch up the tears. After trimming and patching, press the edges against the sides of the tin to push up the dough about 0.5 cm above the height of the rim. Dock with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the tart shell directly for 18 minutes, do not blind bake this.
  7. If the bottom has puffed up, gently pat it down while the pastry is still warm. Cool completely.

Honey Lemon Custard

  • zest of 5 lemons, divided
  • juice of 5 lemons
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 c light honey
  • 350 ml whole milk
  • 170 g unsalted butter, cubed
  1. Whisk together the zest of 4 lemons, all the juice, eggs, and honey in a heavy saucepan on medium heat until starting to thicken. Gradually whisk in the milk until well incorporated and the mixture thickens again.
  2. Strain into a bowl, then stir in the butter and remaining zest until smooth.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Pour the custard into the baked tart shell and bake for 30-40 minutes. The center should still be quite wobbly.
  4. Let cool and chill overnight until set.

Honey Vanilla Chantilly

  • 250 ml cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp light honey
  1. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl, then whisk to soft peaks. Keep chilled.

Salted Honeycomb

  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c sugar
  • scant 1/2 c light honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the sugar and honey in a heavy saucepan and bring the mixture up to a boil. Stir until all the solids have dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Continue to stir until the baking soda completely dissolves.
  4. Scrape the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Let it cool completely until hard, then break into pieces.

To serve, slice the tart with a hot knife (run it under hot water then wipe it dry). Top with a dollop of whipped cream, garnished with a few chunks of honeycomb.

Enjoy!

 

5 thoughts on “Instagram: we’ve been doing it all wrong

    1. I’m sure yours will be just as delish since this was my first time making honeycomb as well! Just make sure you have people to share it with – the recipe makes a ton and they only last a day, at most two🙂

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