The One Time You Should Never Use A Filter On Instagram

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there’s a weather advisory, there’s tweets.

Such is the case today. With a tornado watch in effect until 5pm in New York City, tweets have poured in like rain (see what I did there?).

Along with tweets, photos. And when everyone is focused on the weather, everyone tends to retweet the images onto their own timelines.

Here’s a photo from Brian Stelter of the New York Times:

This is all well and good. It is a clear photo and, to my knowledge, no filter was used.

But here’s where I take issue (apparently, because I tweeted this just a few minutes ago):

Here’s why:

Filters make photos look different. They make things look exaggerated. You can switch up the contrast to make photos look darker or lighter.

This is the same photo using two different filters:

Essentially, you can completely change what something looks like with the touch of a button.

This is fine for your brunch or for your selfie, but not if you’re looked at as a source for news (or tornado updates).

Joe Weisenthal, Executive Editor of Business Insider, told me that “Instagram is for art”. While the definition of art may be one to discuss on another day, the idea of putting filters on a photo of a storm is essentially the same as photoshopping.

Lessons to be learned? Never alter a photo of weather (if people are looking to you for an honest portrayal of weather), and never tweet anything your boss will make you explain in a blog post.

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