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Could Instagram and other Social Media Platforms be Killing off Heavy Drinking?

It's no secret that millennials aren't as into boozing as previous generations have been. Previous studies have shown that since so much of modern social media has foundations in photo and video content, and being drunk makes you look like a tit, the popularity of binge drinking has waned among the youth of today.

As it turns out, there might be a bit more to it than that. Increased usage of platforms like Instagram seems to be mirroring a parallel decline in drinking. A new survey taken in conjunction with the Enjoy Heineken Responsibly Campaign, which surveyed 5,000 people, showed an overwhelming tendency towards moderated consumption, both on nights out and otherwise. 1 in 3 people surveyed cited social shaming as a cause for their reluctance to get wrecked.

Beyond that, the reach of social media means that cautionary tales about the evils of drinking can circulate that much more widely, and a story about someone you know can easily morph from a faded rumor into a real, cautionary tale. Equally, now that online communication is so much more prevalent in social activity, it's also become one of the most common ways to meet people and hook up. Even in late teens or as a young adults, most people are looking for a partner, and recognise that they're unlikely to spend the rest of their life with someone that they pull at a club. Also, nobody says 'pull' anymore, I'm told.

Food also plays into this, it would seem. The whole notion of being able to share your day to day activity online hinges on that activity being interesting. Alcoholic beverages aren't that interesting. Unless you've got enough money and a strong enough constitution to drink nothing but elaborate, showy cocktails on a night out, you're probably going to be on beer, wine or spirits and mixers. You're not going to rake in many likes with a picture of any of those. Food, on the other hand, tends to fare far better, and piques the interest of a lot of Instagram users. That being the case, people have started to opt for eating out as a social activity above and beyond drinking.

Even when people do drink, the outlook is much different. With the increasingly popularity of craft beer, bars over clubs and trendy drinking-friendly restaurants over bars, the strength of your poison of choice doesn't seem to be pertinent at all anymore. Again, it comes down to image, and there's no way of airbrushing an evening pounding 1.5 litre bottles of White Lightning to make it suitable for a Facebook update, it's just grim, through and through. A similar thing has been going on with smoking, as vaping culture has taken over cigarettes have lost any sense of being fashionable. The health of vaping is still questionable, but it's certainly no worse, and at the very least it doesn't pollute the atmosphere or turn sleepy idiots into fire hazards.

Does this spell doom for establishments, breweries and distilleries? Good lord no, but it does mean that, at least in this part of the world, a more responsible attitude towards drinking is being adopted which may well start to have a positive effect on alcohol related death and injury statistics, as well as addiction. People are looking for new experiences, and getting drunk is going out of style. How it ever got into style in the first place is beyond the comprehension of most millennials even now, so imagine what it will be like in 10 or 20 years.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Could Instagram and other Social Media Platforms be Killing off Heavy Drinking? Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 Rating: 5

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