I’ve long held the belief that Instagram is the best social media platform, and that conviction is mostly because it is the easiest app to explore what interesting people are doing and posting. And by “interesting people,” I mean people you don’t know. Facebook's full of people you barely know telling you how they'd solve gun control and letting you know they cried during the Bachelor finale. Twitter lets you get outside of your sphere of acquaintance, but it's violently reactionary and you're likely to completely miss interesting things that get quickly buried deep down your timeline. Instagram, however, is the perfect medium for leisurely browsing through worlds you never imagined.
It usually happens by accident. You get curious about a hashtag and end up in a stranger's feed, exploring the world of exotic bird owners. #Parrotstagram has an impressive amount of birds wearing bowties and it’s a goddamn delight, I tell you. Unlike Twitter, where every discourse eventually leads to someone outing themselves as a Nazi, Instagram subcultures are serene, apolitical hubs of hobbyists and enthusiasts of obscure activities and things. No one is a blatant Nazi unless you are, of course, browsing through Nazi Instagram, in which case, you can easily see your way out of there by hashtag hopping from #Germany to #BlackForest to #NorwegianHorticulture. Here then, are seven oddly compelling Instagram subcultures...
You’ll think twice about rolling your eyes at weird dudes at parties who do card tricks once you’ve done a deep dive into #cardporn. It’s mostly slowed down videos of people shuffling in neat ways and it is ART, I tell you. It’s like dancing.
Best accounts to follow: Joe Feldpausch, Rich Li Magic, Silas Busk
I’m aware that this sounds unexciting and while social media tends to show just how bland our lives are, it usually promotes at least the more raucous bland things we do. But floor instagram highlights just how diverse floors can be. I won’t ramble about this one too much because you really just have to see for yourself. The only thing less interesting than floors is talking about floors.
Best accounts to follow: I Have This Thing With Floors
You’d think this would be the happiest corner of Instagram. It's not. Countdowns to Christmas Time in February and March make you wonder if the individuals behind these accounts are remembering to, like, feed their pets. Do they only wear ugly Christmas sweaters year round? The real treat about this culture, though, isn't the photos but the comments on them. Like this one, "Less than 8 months till September and that's when I kick celebration off! It's all downhill from here friends" is a real window into this person's life.
Best accounts to follow: Christmas All Year Round, Christmas Glitter
This subculture ranges from fun Bear Grylls types to people running anti-government militias in the backwoods of Georgia. Learn to tie knots but also survive off of your own piss. It’s like boy scouts under extreme pressure and imbued with an unhealthy fear of government. Even if the world never comes to an end, you'll have a few weird party tricks!
Best accounts to follow: BlackWater Bushcraft, Primitive Wild, Scrambled O
Slime videos are to Instagram what reckless teens were to Vine (RIP). It’s really the form that’s come to define the medium. Slime videos are so popular that stores are having a hard time keeping Elmer’s Glue stocked on their shelves. These videos mesmerize, disgust, and captivate. Blame Nickelodeon.
Best accounts to follow: Slime Queeens, Rad Slime
Similar to slime videos, paint mixing videos are hypnotic and probably a huge mess to clean up afterwards. Honestly, I’d take a bigger interest in museums if they showed us the artists mixing up paint before doing any work. I'd also watch endless videos of people scraping the dried mixed paint off of whatever surfaces they're on. That's a free idea for any of you readers looking to start up a viral account.
Best accounts to follow: Paint Mixings, Annette Labedzki
This community isn't as big as some of the others, but can still put you in a trance. At some point you do wonder if you’re watching a locksmith or a criminal mastermind. Best not to think about it too much.
Best accounts to follow: The Locksmith, Vintxge Locks