I get it -- technology is changing our lifestyle. It's a little scary, and you hate it. But guess what? Smartphones aren't going anywhere for the moment. Our degree of connectivity is only going to rise. You can hem & haw about this truth, but it's the truth. Throwing a tantrum at the sight of another diner pulling out an iPhone is not beating back the tides of change, my guys. In fact, all it does is make you look like a Luddite.
Food & drink culture IS culture (and this is part of it)
Earlier this year, GQ published another article targeting food culture. This one claimed that #millennials go to beer bars just to say we've drunk there, and collect hard-to-get reservations like trophies. The piece positions foodstagramming as one of the "worst tendencies" to rise from this transactionalism of food & drink culture. Whatever shall we do?, it laments. People are self-identifying with restaurants the way they used to with Radiohead!
This is mostly true, but it's not bad news. In fact, it's not news at all. When Harry Met Sally, released in 1989, has a line about this restaurant-reverence: "Restaurants are to people in the '80s what theatre was to people in the '60s." Unless you were born & raised inside a Six Flags, your hometown's food & drink scene has probably only gotten bigger & better ever since. Eating isn't a distraction or an addendum to cultural participation; it is cultural participation.
It's a dense, delicious playing field, and Instagram is your game plan.
Instagram is the democratic cultural interaction on a scale that music blogs & book clubs could never offer to their respective constituencies. It's not bad, or even good; it just is. Denying that is sticking your head in the sand.