“As neighborhoods, restaurants and museums become more photogenic, are we experiencing an ‘Instagramization’ of the world?”
Penang is one of a number of cities capitalizing on the wild popularity of photo-based social media apps such as Instagram, which has 800 million users (that’s more than a tenth of the world’s population). It’s part of a wider phenomenon of public and private spaces being designed to appeal to users of such apps. This phenomenon is subtly changing our visual landscapes—on the streets, in restaurants, in stores, in museums and more. Call it the “Instagramization” of the world.
Restaurants have been at the forefront of Instagramization. Since social media mentions can make or break a restaurant’s success, owners have become attuned to what visual aspects of food and décor appeal to customers. Restaurant designers are going for photo-friendly background materials like slate and whitewashed wood, and using plain white plates. Some are deliberately incorporating Instagram-appealing visuals that feature the restaurant’s name or logo—floor tiles, neon signs—hoping they’ll wind up in a snap.