Are Instagrammable Pop-Ups and Places Here to Stay?

Back in December, I had the opportunity to visit the Trap Music Museum in Atlanta, Georgia on its last day* of operation. The museum, which was created by Clifford Harris, Jr. (bka TIP aka TI), detailed the history of trap music and what makes this style of music so special and necessary to hip hop and popular culture. The line was wrapped around the building as ATLiens and other visitors made sure to stop by to see how The King of the South curated this special museum.

However, once I walked inside I realized that the number of people actually taking the time to read the information on the placards around the museum was slim. Most visitors were snapping photos, going live on Facebook or sharing content on their Instagram Story. The pink sedan that was made famous by 2 Chainz’s pink trap house (not to be confused with Ariana Grande’s pink house) was a fan favorite as mobs of people all tried to get a photo near (or on before they were told to get down) the car for their feed.

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It was at that moment that I realized this location was more of an Instagrammable place. You know, the type of place where people visit in order to take photos and show the world that they were “there” even if they weren’t actually “present” (more on that later).

Instagrammable places are not new at all. Whenever I travel to a new city, I am guilty of trying to find a picturesque location so I can inevitably get my Instagram boyfriend to snap a cute photo that I can then pair with a lyric from a song on Spotify’s Rap Caviar playlist. These places are typically bright and cheery and can usually be found via a physical location or a hashtag.

As a social media manger, I have always said that restaurants, hotels, and boutiques should look like places that people want to post on Instagram because it is basically free advertising for the business. Some Instagram users check the tagged photos of any pretty place to see a curated feed of the atmosphere in addition to the actual activities that happen there. People naturally love beautiful places, and if your location is easy on the eye, it will be easy to post on Instagram.

Let’s take a moment to dive in and discuss the different types of Instagrammable places out there and what the future of them appears to be.

Pop-Ups

While pop-up “museums” and “experiences” certainly aren’t new, it seems like they exploded in 2018. I could hardly scroll down my Instagram feed without seeing photos from San Francisco’s Museum of Ice Cream, Dallas’ Sweet Tooth Hotel, or New York’s The Egg House. These colorful and often interactive spaces were created in order for photographers and influencers (I will let you define the term on your own) to attend in order to get their perfect shot for their curated Instagram feeds.

When these places started becoming “a thing” I was always curious of their goal and their business model. It didn’t take long for me to realize the popularity as people are paying $20-$50 to visit a room that looks like the inside of a Crayola box in order to get 10% of their followers to like their photo or watch their video. It is fun for a while, but it can quickly get gimmicky.

Murals

I will admit that I am a sucker for a good mural. I have a list of murals in cities around the country that I want to grab a photo in front of in order to simply add a pop of color to my feed. Instagrammers like Rosie Clayton make bookmarking murals easy due to hashtags such as #walltraveled as well as location tags. Tons of bars, clothing stores, and older warehouses now have branded murals which help to get the word about who they are.

Museums

This one hurts a bit because I believe that traditional museums should be educational and inspiring. Lately, I have noticed a trend of people simply visiting museums to snap photos in a minimalist setting without learning and paying attention to the stunning art that is on display.

The next time you are in a museum, take a moment to put the phone down and take it all in before you get to snapping. I love the Blanton Museum of Art here in Austin especially because the exhibits switch out often and they are always so inspiring.

Neon Signs

It seems neon signs are everywhere now as they are an easy, yet expensive, way to add a touch of fun and brand recognition to a blank wall. And if the sign is of a cute quote or a clever hashtag, it will spread on Instagram like wildfire.

Restrooms

You read the right. In the Instagram age, restrooms are for handling many different types of business. Many businesses are now purposely design their restrooms and powder rooms in order to ensure a quality #BathroomSelfie still happens when users are waiting in line for their friend who always takes forever.

The neon light inside of the  women’s  bathroom at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in Austin. Double points.

The neon light inside of the women’s bathroom at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in Austin. Double points.

Backdrops + Photo Booths

Rings lights and step and repeats certainly are not new, but social media has taken these traditional photo tools to a whole new level.

Back in March 2015, I went to the Mashable House at SXSW and was amazed by the type of photo booth they had. There were at least 40 or so cameras lined up around me and each was synchronized to snap a photo that made me look like I was part of a Boomerang before it was even a thing as the Boomerang app launched on October 2015 and came to Stories in November 2016.

These days, photo booths are critical to almost every event in order to get attendees to share their location and create FOMO or hype surrounding what they are up to.

Fake Apartments + Airbnbs

Instagram influencers are renting out apartments with perfect lighting and a beautiful aesthetic in order to get the best shots of them and whatever products they are advertising.

Take this penthouse in SoHo for example. The 2,500-square feet space was created by an agency and is gorgeous and crisp with its white and pink accent pieces. This trend certainly is not new as some influencers already rent out Airbnb’s on weekends in order to get shots and a getaway at the same time. Talk about a win-win.

All of these lucrative locations leads many, including myself, to believe that Instagram content is moving more and more into an overly-planned state that leaves no room for error. Since we already make our best friends send us content for approval before they post it, it only makes sense that we will not allow any additional room for error on our feed. Prepare to see even more setups and venues that prove we are even more vain than we previously thought.

So what do you think is next for Instagrammable places? Do you want them to continue to rise or do you want them to crash and burn like Google+? Let me know in the comments!

*The museum has since reopened for special events and for Super Bowl LIII.

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