Do we really need Instagram stations at our favorite restaurants?
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I’ve never understood the desire to take photos of meals and share them on social media. Yes, your arugula salad looks nice, but for the rest of us it’s about as interesting as a picture of your mailbox.
That said, there’s a clear market for foodies and social gurus who want to plaster their feeds with grainy, underexposed images of cheesecake. And if you’re one of those people, we must show you the #dinnercam. (Sorry, we know it looks dumb, but the hashtag is part of the name.)
The #dinnercam is the product of a South African internet provider, MWEB, and has been described as “the world's first portable photo studio for restaurant meals”... as if there were an industry of similar devices all sprinting to market.
The microwave-sized lighting rig allows restaurant-goers to “take social media food shots to the next level” by optimizing light conditions and positioning their meals—which, let’s remember, are supposed to be eaten—in a “jealousy-inspiring” way.
To be fair, the MWEB is touting the project as a “tongue-in-cheek campaign” that illustrates how open web access is changing the way people interact with public environments. And it’s currently only available at a Mexican restaurant in Cape Town called El Burro.
Still, I can only imagine how irritating something like this would be for patrons who prefer not to publicly document their calorie intake. This is how obsessed some of us have become with social media and mobile devices: We want our dinners to accompany us to a photo booth before eating them. It’s creepy:
“Wow, these fish tacos with chipotle lime dressing look fantastic!”
“They sure do, honey. But before you dig in, make sure your light source is broad enough to accentuate the soft contours of the fried tilapia.”
“Oh, and those tender vegetable hues would do well under a subtle vignette filter.”
“I just want to eat it.”
“Well the line at the #dinnercam is growing longer by the second.”
“I thought technology was supposed to make things simpler?”
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