You may have heard that many New Yorkers—perhaps even people you personally know!—are moving to Los Angeles. But apparently they’re not moving because of the harsh winters or the high rents or the bad Mexican food. They’re moving because of Instagram.

From last weekend’s New York Times:

It started with Instagram. Or maybe it ended with Instagram. Last fall, Christina Turner, a fashion stylist in Brooklyn, was dreading another New York winter in her cramped, lightless Greenpoint, Brooklyn, apartment while gazing longingly at the succulent gardens and festive backyard dinner parties posted on social media by her friends in Los Angeles.

The Instagram-as-moving-motivator has been cited so often that it spurred a brilliant satirical response, “Leaving New York and Also Technology,” over at The Awl. A choice passage:

More importantly, my wife and I wanted a family, and thanks to my crippling addiction to Zillow and the Styles section, I knew all too well that a two-bedroom apartment was way out of reach. Friends who had once shuddered at the thought of leaving the city spoke of a happier, healthier lifestyle elsewhere. Some of them even moved to Los Angeles, which they reported didn’t suck after all. During the fifteen-month winter, I became so consumed with jealousy over California Instagram feeds that I deleted the app for seven minutes.

It’s funny because it’s true: Who hasn’t wistfully gazed at someone’s carefully cropped Valencia-filtered image and wanted to be right there?

Advertisement

As we talked about both of these articles today, several of my co-workers admitted that the visual, visceral wallop of Instagram compels us to take action in a way that other social media does not. And the articles seemed very accurate in that way: At least one writer at Gizmodo claimed to have fantasies of moving to California every time she opened the app.

I’ve bought both food and shoes because I spotted them in a photo. I’ve even changed my itinerary ever so slightly on recent trips—I fully admit that I have made both hotel and restaurant reservations thanks to pools and plates I’ve seen in my friends’ feeds.

None of us have moved to LA because of Instagram... yet. But maybe you’ve experienced something just as life-changing. Could a single square photo prompt you to make a decision, or perhaps cement a decision you were on the fence about? Has Instagram played such a role in helping to change your life?

Sample Instagrams meant to encourage people to move to LA