Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thailand musings: Instagram?

Quick, what's the most tagged location in the world on Instagram?

The Eiffel Tower comes in at #8.  Times Square is #4.  Disneyland is #3...

You kinda sorta know what I'm about to say, given that I asked the question.  But let's not pretend it actually makes sense.  Bizarrely, first and second place go to Thailand!  Here is the complete list:

  1. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ in Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน) shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California
  4. Times Square in New York City
  5. AT&T Park in San Francisco
  6. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  7. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles
  8. Eiffel Tower in Paris
  9. Staples Center in Los Angeles
  10. Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles

I learned this shortly before my trip, but I have still been unable to come up with a satisfactory theory of why.

Any ideas?  Here are some observations:

  • I am told that Instagram is really super popular in Asia.  
  • I am also told that Chinese tourists have been arriving in Thailand en masse, and what they like to do is go shopping at the Thai shopping malls.  I even observed firsthand the swarms of Chinese tourists in parts of the Paragon.
  • Like everyone, I arrived in Bangkok at Suvarnabhumi Airport.  I even took a picture, although it did not end up on Instagram.

I actually spent many hours at the Siam Paragon, mostly because the second Hobbit movie is many hours long.  Imax!  With Thai subtitles!  I did not take any pictures during the movie though.

Perhaps a coherent story is coalescing in your mind.  However, I feel I must remind you that it still makes no sense.  I mean, look at that list!  The top doesn't belong with the bottom!

If Instagram is so popular in Asia, why isn't there anything else in all of Asia?  And if the massive population of Insta-crazy China is driving this, then shouldn't somewhere in China be on the list?  Shouldn't other noteworthy places in Asia be dominating? And if not at the top, couldn't they at least edge out Santa Monica Pier?  What are people taking pictures of, the bubble machine?  I don't even know if that's still there and it's the only thing I even remember!

For the love of God.  And Siam Paragon isn't even the biggest shopping mall in Thailand...or even in Bangkok...or even within a half-mile radius!  That honor goes to the CentralWorld down the street -- the sixth largest mall in the world -- which you could conceivably get lost in and never come out of.  (Of course you could still interact with the outside world through Instagram).

I just realized I have actually been to every place on that list that isn't a sports stadium.  Therefore I am highly qualified to say it makes no sense.  There is probably some stupid, uninteresting explanation for this data, but for now I am on the record as Highly Confused.

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