Why we love Instagram’s "What Pokémon are you?" filter even though it’s meaningless (2022)

People will travel to the ends of the Earth, leave long-term relationships, look to the heavens, climb mountains, go spelunking, submit DNA to private companies, and obsessively take online quizzes, all in an attempt to solve one of life’s greatest mysteries: finding out who they really are.

And in the very young year of 2020, people are now turning to a new method of self-discovery. And that highly considered process involves the combined forces of Pokémon and Instagram filters.

Over the past two weeks, interactive filters asking questions like “What Pokémon Are You?”, along with Harry Potter, Sailor Moon, and various Disney equivalents, have inundated Instagram story feeds. The conceit is simple and low-effort:

.@ArianaGrande's reaction to getting a Magikarp for "What Pokemon are you?" is a mood pic.twitter.com/b92DGqC3ST

— Tiphany ⎊✵ (@blockbustergurl) December 30, 2019

Users pose for a recorded video while a slot machine-like graphic flashing different characters — say, types of Pokémon — spins over their head. Eventually, and without any user input, it randomly stops at one. With the Pokémon filter, you’re left either highly satisfied that the algorithm guessed that you’re one of your favorite Pokémon, or bummed that a filter could be so wrong and stick you with the dopey, coconut tree-esque Exeggutor.

(Video) Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, David Guetta, Daddy Yankee, Afro Bros & Natti Natasha - Instagram

[Editor’s note: I continue to be offended that I, an obvious Charmander, was deemed a Squirtle instead. — Allegra Frank]

Why we love Instagram’s "What Pokémon are you?" filter even though it’s meaningless (1) Allegra Frank/Instagram

No matter the outcome, the results are then shared on Instagram along with the user’s live reaction — happy, sad, angry, satisfied — for their friends. The recorded video nature of it means that the reaction is as important a part of the story as the result itself; sure, you could game it by retaking the quiz multiple times. But it only works if you launch the filter as a video; your friends will always depend on finding out your reaction to the character you’ve been deemed.

The augmented reality filter, created by user @hughesp1, along with counterparts like a Disney character version (by @arnopartissimo) and a Harry Potter riff (by @syilers), have gone viral thanks solely to friends sharing their short Instagram story results, like a platform-exclusive word-of-mouth. While one could obtain the filter by visiting those developers’ pages in the filters section or their individual pages, the easiest way to try the filter yourself is clicking through a link on the upper left-hand corner of a friend’s story, which states which filter their story is using.

But there’s also something here about this specific genre of filters, like those random online personality quizzes, that exemplifies to a certain, widely studied psychology behind our human desire to define and assert our identities.

Tribalism, I choose you!

The idea of masses of people wanting to find their true selves through a randomizer on Instagram and a fictional pocket monster might seem a little silly. But it’s not an original or even outrageous concept. In this permutation, you may be deemed a too-cute-to-be-trusted Vulpix or a sleepy Snorlax. But people have long sought out how to most easily explain themselves through online quizzes, in casual conversation, or even in their own heads. We use characters as personal shorthand all the time, whether you consider yourself Miranda on Sex and the City, a Ravenclaw in Harry Potter, a “true” Scorpio, a Chidi from The Good Place, Bon Appetit YouTube personality Claire, a Posh Spice, or even a Yankee fan.

Why we love Instagram’s "What Pokémon are you?" filter even though it’s meaningless (2) Allegra Frank/Instagram

This instinct to identify yourself and belong feels so good because it feels so concrete. These characters, figures, teams, astrology signs, and whatnot have distinct traits about them, and it’s easy to pick those out and match your own traits with those.

(Video) Instagram i love you

Most of the determining factors in your life are beyond your control, like where you were born, or your nationalities, or even oftentimes your own names. But cultivating or defining an identity based on the things you like or dislike is a practice you pursue on your own, as a way to articulate the person you believe yourself to be. And when our personality types match with a particular group that we already relate to and understand, it feels incredibly validating.

This concept — finding and attaching yourself to different groups — is called tribalism.

“People identify with all kinds of groups,” Jay Van Bavel, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, told Vox’s Constance Grady in 2017. “That includes everything from your favorite sports team or your country, to seemingly arbitrary groups, like going to the gym and forming a pickup basketball team for the day, or identifying with Apple or Microsoft. Tribalism is deeply burned into the ways our brains and minds operate, and it manifests in all different kinds of ways.”

The tribalism in the “Which character are you?” Instagram filters exists on a few different levels.

Just did that what Pokemon are you and got fucking MUK. RIP ME. pic.twitter.com/UkJVi4qlbK

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— Samuel Jenkinson (@samueljenkinson) December 29, 2019

Primarily, by being assigned a character under the premise that it represents who you, yourself, are, you’ve essentially been given a set of traits and an identity to compare yourself against. Each Pokémon in the video games has elemental powers (e.g. fire, ice, flying, grass) and a set of personality traits. Some of these powers and traits are more preferable to certain fans than others — hence people getting annoyed with being tagged with certain Pokémon (your writer was deemed the utterly basic Pikachu, and he couldn’t fathom it) and overjoyed when they get others (your writer was much happier when the filter decided he was a sassy Vulpix).

The other level of the character quiz filters works in that posting these videos lets other Disney or Harry Potter or Pokémon fans connect with other fans. Posting a Rattata doesn’t really matter to people who aren’t familiar with the game, and who don’t know that the character is the redundant normie of the franchise. But to Pokémon fans, seeing someone get a Rattata instantly speaks to a specific set of traits that are only obvious to anyone familiar with the canon. Same goes for a quiz that sorts Harry Potter fans into a Hogwarts house; only a Harry Potter-loving, self-identified Slytherin understands the pain of being sorted into Hufflepuff.

when ppl do the “what pokemon are you” on their instagram story and get the ugly one i’m all like: teehee

— aksel (@aksually) December 30, 2019

Sharing the character quiz filters in Instagram stories is like speaking another language to others who are fluent in it — the same way getting a Professor Minerva McGonagall or Maleficent in the Harry Potter filter and the Disney character filter means the most to those fans. Even if we get characters we might not believe are representative of who we are, it still strengthens that bond of belonging because identifying that character is part of being in that tribe.

Instagram adds to this experience by forcing users to record their live reactions. The social media platform simultaneously allows people to enjoy each other’s real-time, spontaneous responses, while also letting them quickly define themselves, or reject an identity projected upon them.

(Video) Instagram Models Be Like:

Of course, the Pokémon filter — like the well-known Meyers-Briggs personality test and other online quizzes — is pretty meaningless in determining deep down who you really are. The Pokémon filter results in a different Pokémon each time you play with it, after all. And the newest permutation of the filter is now more like a fortune-telling randomizer that tells people what kind of year they’ll have in 2020, perhaps signaling the death knell for these as personality quiz filters and instead transforming them into loosely predictive, Magic 8 Ball-esque ones.

But doesn’t mean there isn’t inherent joy or some kind of value in letting the world know you’re a Vulpix. Nor will these filters’ eventual fade into the ether ever deter people from indulging that deep, human desire to find out and express who they really are.

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FAQs

Are Instagram filters randomized? ›

As @DarkArtsPhoto -- maker of the "What's your crippling anxiety?" filter -- tells me, the majority of creators use a randomize function on their AR software (the Facebook-made Spark is a popular choice).

How do you filter your Pokemon on Instagram? ›

Get the Pokémon Filter
  1. Log into your IG profile.
  2. Tap on the Search option.
  3. Type in hughesp1 in the search bar and select the creator's profile.
  4. Select the Filters permanent story right below his profile picture.
  5. Swipe until you find the Pokémon filter.
  6. Swipe up on the Pokémon filter story to get the filter for free.

What is the filter that asks questions on Instagram? ›

Instagram is introducing a new AR filter that's making it easier for you to connect with your friends. In the same vein as the app's Question Button, the "Quiz Me" filter allows users to better engage with their followers by coming up with queries that you can answer on-screen — and it's the best time waster.

Why are Instagram filters so popular? ›

38 per cent say that the reason they use filters so much is to improve their skin texture. 23 per cent say that using filters has warped their perception of what they look like, to the point where it shocks them when they see images of their unfiltered face.

Are Instagram filters artificial intelligence? ›

Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have their own version of these filters, but they're almost all the same thing. Some describe it all as 'Social AR', but more correctly, it's a combination of computer vision, AR, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Which character are you Instagram filter? ›

Go directly to the source. Profile @arnopartissimo created the filter, so all you need to do it go to his profile. Swipe his grid of photos twice to the left and it will take you to his “filters” section. Click the “Which Disney Character are You?” filter and hit “try it” in the bottom left corner.

Which Pokémon are you filter? ›

Open up the Instagram app on your phone and activate camera mode by pressing the icon in the top left corner. Once in Camera mode, make sure the camera is facing toward you with the selfie camera. Select the Pokémon filter from the collection at the bottom of the screen.

What Pokémon has filter? ›

Pokémon Adventures

Mime is revealed to have Filter as his Ability. Sabrina's Mr. Mime is revealed to have Filter as her Ability.

Who is the most filter? ›

The 'Who is more' filter is an interactive filter where you are asked a question and you have to tilt your head towards the person to whom the question fits. Two people are required to use this filter. If your answers are the same, you get the green check. Also, if your answers differ, you get a red x.

Do filters make you look better? ›

Eyes: The filters make your eyes bigger. Because eyes convey information. Big baby-like eyes suggest spontaneity, innocence, vulnerability. The white part of the eyes communicates trust.

What is that filter that everyone is using? ›

The filter is actually part of the app FaceApp, which is behind loads of other viral TikTok trends such as the ageing filter, the gender swap filter and the big face filter.

What filter is popular on Instagram? ›

America's Favorite Filters

Here's a surprise: Clarendon tops the list of most used Instagram filters in every single state. Why? Probably because it's an all-purpose filter that brightens, highlights, and intensifies shadows for color that pops.

How filters affect mental health? ›

It's a natural impulse to want to present ourselves in the best light. But research on filters and mental health reveals that filtering actually depletes self-esteem and distorts body image. The further our filtered selfies get from how we really look, the worse we feel about ourselves.

What filter makes you look perfect? ›

Facetune2

This selfie editor app features tons of free beauty and color filters and easy-to-use tools that allow you to enhance your facial features. This includes contouring your jaws, changing your hair color, enlarging your eyes, taming your eyebrows, and so on. These all make you look better in an instant.

What do filters do to your face? ›

Thinner cheeks, longer lashes, smoother, even skin, less under-eye bags and a smaller nose are some of the many things snapchat changes about my appearance when I pop on a filter, and sharing an unfiltered picture nowadays feels like a whole new kind of vulnerability.

How do you use someone's filter on Instagram? ›

To find filters from a specific creator, go to their profile, tap the smiley above their grid, and select the filter you want to try. To send an Instagram filter to a friend, open the filter in the camera, tap the filter's name at the bottom of the screen, then tap Send To.

Which Harry Potter character are you filter? ›

1) Make sure you have the latest version of Instagram on your phone. 2) Search syilers on Instagram and find the filter creator's page. 3) Swipe to the left on their photos to access their filters. 4) Press on the 'Harry Potter Test' filter option to see it.

How do you use game filters on Instagram? ›

Tap in the top left of the screen and select Story, or swipe right from anywhere in feed. Scroll to Story at the bottom. Swipe left at the bottom of the screen and select an effect. To see effects from independent creators, swipe all the way to the left and tap .

How do you use the Pokémon Facebook filter? ›

To try out the filters, just open them on each social media mobile app. Fans will be randomly designated a Pokémon trainer and will receive a digital cosplay of the chosen character accompanied by their favorite Pokémon. The possible trainers include Gladion, Rosa, Blue, and Lillie.

How do you use the Pokémon ball filter? ›

How to Get 'What Pokemon Are You?' Filter on Instagram! - YouTube

How do you check Pokémon go by year? ›

Weather-boosted: Enter @weather to show any Pokémon in your list with one or both attacks boosted by the current weather. Year: Search year plus a number to show Pokémon acquired in a given year. For example, “year 2016” will show all Pokémon you acquired in 2016.

What are the six best Pokémon? ›

Top 10 Strongest, Most Powerful Pokémon of All Time
  • Lunala and Solgaleo.
  • Ultra Necrozma.
  • Mega Mewtwo X and Y.
  • Kyogre and Groudon.
  • Rayquaza.
  • Giratina.
  • Dialga and Palkia.
  • Arceus.
Jul 15, 2020

What does 0 * 1 * 2 * mean in Pokemon go? ›

You can even search for Pokémon by their specific star tier, just like how you can search for them by name. To do this, you'll need to search: 0* = 0 Stars. 1* = 1 Star. 2* = 2 Stars.

How do I know which Pokémon to evolve? ›

POKÉMON GO: Should You EVOLVE Or WAIT?! (How To Know When To ...

How do you see which Pokémon you can evolve? ›

As it turns out, the search bar is a pretty powerful tool in game. Simply typing evolve will bring up a complete list of all the player Pokemon that have enough Rare Candy to evolve.

Which is the best effect in Instagram? ›

Clarendon is the most popular filter on Instagram, according to Lifewire, probably because of its slightly oversaturated look and high-contrast effect. The Clarendon filter adds an overall cool tint to your photo, but skin tones remain warm and natural.

Do Instagram filters make money? ›

What is this? With the growing popularity of Instagram Stories, there's no doubt that ephemeral content is the future of social media. Thus, making Instagram masks and filters is a great way to showcase your creativity and earn money on the platform.

How can I look good without a filter? ›

And the best part is, you can finally add #nofilter to your photo — and really mean it.
  1. Turn Your Phone Into a DSLR Camera. ...
  2. Wear Kylie Jenner's Selfie-Approved HD Makeup. ...
  3. Or Try Silk Powdered Photo Finish Foundation. ...
  4. Bring the Perfect Lighting With You. ...
  5. Define Your Gaze With Kim K's Favorite False Lashes.
Feb 19, 2016

Do filters make a photo more beautiful Why or why not? ›

Overall, photos with filters are 21% more likely to be looked at than non-filtered photos and 45% more likely to elicit comments. The filters most likely to boost images' popularity are those “that impose warm color temperature, boost contrast, and increase exposure.”

Is it bad to use filters on Instagram? ›

Filters aren't inherently bad. They become problematic when you fail to recognise the real person behind them. Playful filters like flower crowns are fine, but the ones with dramatic changes like smooth skin, a fuller lip and a pointy nose are damaging for our self-esteem and mental health.

What's the filter everyone uses on Instagram with the date? ›

Juno. Juno is a well-known Instagram filter used for in-feed posts.

What filter do influencers use? ›

VSCO: An Instagram photo editing staple for influencers

The VSCO app features 10 presets that will easily upgrade your photos to influencer-level quality. It also comes with editing tools, analog film effects, and an option to save and recreate your favorite edits with ease called Recipes.

What is the filter that makes you look sad? ›

Snapchat's "crying filter," which users commonly refer to as the "sad face" filter, has become the latest viral trend, gaining over 1.3 billion impressions since last week. Below, find out how you can get the filter on Snapchat and use it to go viral on Instagram and TikTok, too.

What Instagram filter makes you look pretty? ›

Yep, you heard correctly, according to Patrick filter favourites such as Ludwig, Lark and Juno, are SO last year, and if you want a glowing selfie you need the red filter! Apparently, this colour instantly enhances your features and subtly intensifies your makeup, giving you a beauty boost without looking super-edited.

How many Instagram filters are there? ›

Out of the 24 filters currently available for Instagram photos, these are the top 10 you'll want to start using more often.

How do you get a randomizer filter on Instagram? ›

How To Create A Random Selector Instagram Filter on Spark AR Studio

How do you make a randomizer filter? ›

How to Make a "Who / What are you?" Filter? | Spark AR - YouTube

Does everyone use Instagram filters? ›

Filters are now common across social media, though they take different forms. Instagram bundles beauty filters with its other augmented-reality facial filters, like those that add a dog's ears and tongue to a person's face.

How many people use beauty filters on Instagram? ›

Around 1 out of 5 Americans (21 percent) who has ever had any social media account has used a beauty filter before posting pictures on social media. Among these, 9 percent said they “always or nearly always” use them and 13 percent said they “often” use them.

How do you make which character are you filter? ›

How To Make A "Which Are You" Instagram Filter - Spark AR Tutorial

How do rappers get random filters? ›

How to get the 'which rapper are you' effect
  1. Swipe to the camera screen on the Instagram app, as if you're about to add a story.
  2. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see filter icons. ...
  3. Next, type 'WHICH RAPPER ARE U' in the search bar.
  4. The viral filter that you're seeing on TikTok is by the user brc.
Jul 1, 2021

How do you make a filter for Instagram games? ›

How to Create Your Own Instagram AR Filter
  1. Step 1: Download Spark AR Studio.
  2. Step 2: Get Familiar With the Platform.
  3. Step 3: Adding Your Object.
  4. Step 4: Add Effects.
  5. Step 5: Test Your New Effect.
  6. Step 6: Publish Your Effect.
Jun 6, 2022

How do you use spark ar? ›

Create an Instagram Filter | Beginner Spark AR Tutorial - YouTube

Do filters make you look better? ›

Eyes: The filters make your eyes bigger. Because eyes convey information. Big baby-like eyes suggest spontaneity, innocence, vulnerability. The white part of the eyes communicates trust.

What is the most used filter on Instagram? ›

Clarendon is the most popular filter on Instagram, according to Lifewire, probably because of its slightly oversaturated look and high-contrast effect. The Clarendon filter adds an overall cool tint to your photo, but skin tones remain warm and natural.

How filters affect mental health? ›

It's a natural impulse to want to present ourselves in the best light. But research on filters and mental health reveals that filtering actually depletes self-esteem and distorts body image. The further our filtered selfies get from how we really look, the worse we feel about ourselves.

Do most girls use filters on Instagram? ›

In a new study, 90% of young women reported using filters or editing their photos to appear as if they had whiter teeth, weighed less, had a different nose, or other physical changes.

Why filters are toxic? ›

"Excessive time spent looking at filtered versions of themselves can adversely affect individuals' mood, sleep, and overall mental and physical wellness." Even those who don't spend a lot of time on these apps can still feel the ramifications of these filters because they have a way of affecting society as a whole.

What filter makes you look perfect? ›

Facetune2

This selfie editor app features tons of free beauty and color filters and easy-to-use tools that allow you to enhance your facial features. This includes contouring your jaws, changing your hair color, enlarging your eyes, taming your eyebrows, and so on. These all make you look better in an instant.

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