Interesting article. I never mess with Instragram, so I never even thought about it as a bragging/envy tool. One of my friends is on it, and he's put up pictures of dogs, cats, flowers, roller coasters, the beach, my '79 Chrysler, random scenery out the window, etc. The main thing he liked about it was all the filters and such you could apply to the pics.
But, I guess if people are posting pics of their McMansions, boats, cars that are nicer than a '79 Chrysler, trophy spouses, etc, I could see how others could look at that and get envious. Sort of like Facebook, where I've heard it's easy to get Facebook envy as everybody else's life looks better than yours. Although in my case, I tend to see a lot of whining, drama queens, pity parties, etc, so I tend to ignore it.
Also, an interesting article on the guy who got his panties in a bunch when he was miffed that his bonus was "only" $3.6M. On the surface, he sounds like a spoiled brat, but I can see how it's easy to get caught up in the momentum. You keep getting more and more, hitting loftier and loftier goals, and it's like an adrenalin rush or some kind of high. But, you end up needing bigger and bigger gains to maintain that high.
For instance, back in the day when I waited tables, or delivered pizzas, I can still remember the first time I broke $60 during a shift. Seemed like a big deal. But, once it became the norm, suddenly it was no great shakes. Same with $100. And, if I got used to walking out with $150+ for a busy Friday or Saturday night, suddenly if I "only" walked out with $100, it seemed like a letdown. Nevermind the fact it was still good money.
And, even more recently, I just got a bonus at work. $1,000, although after they took out taxes, 401k, etc it was about $425. While I'm grateful for it, it just doesn't seem like a big deal. And, everyone in our company got one, although I've heard that the amount can vary, depending on how long you've been with the company, how much they like you, etc. So it's not like they singled me out.
The bonus does very little to my economic well-being. But, for someone who wasn't in as well of a position to me, it might be enough to make them so joyous, they'd dance naked with the mailman!