Why are we so obsessed with following each other’s Instagram?

A seemingly absurd question: what is Instagram?

How would you define the purpose of Instagram as a social media platform if someone were to ask you? Some possible answers could include that Instagram is used for communication and interaction with other people, or it serves to expand one’s personal network. After all, what more can platforms like Instagram offer users beyond their core social media functionality? Dr. Rashad Yazdanifard from art and technology center describes that Instagram (in 2013) boasts 100 million monthly active users, with 40 million photos being uploaded daily and a staggering 8,500 likes and 1,000 comments received every second. In addition, Social Media Today (2015) reports that in 2014, 1.8 billion images were shared every day on social media globally.

As one can imagine, the significance of visuals in the realm of social media becomes readily apparent when examining social media statistics. Most importantly, we need to consider how this image-based social media platform can benefit us. From a commercial perspective, we’ve been told that Instagram is an excellent platform for marketers to promote and advertise brands. The authors of those articles inform us in this manner because they emphasize the role of social media as an online community. The digital community is leveraged to strengthen connections among diverse consumers.

However, for the general public, Instagram should be considered as the easiest way to market ourselves! You may wonder I don’t need this because I’m not an influencer or I don’t even want to become one though. Wait a moment, are you really sure that marketing yourself on mass media is unnecessary?

Marketing self on Instagram decides how others perceive you!

Since visuals almost entirely replace text on Instagram, they have become the most persuasive evidence to showcase our identities. According to the renowned media theorist Marshall McLuhan, he coined the phrase “the medium is the message”. In the case of social media, Instagram is a medium (platform) while the images shared by users on Instagram are the messages. To put it another way, Instagram enables people to communicate primarily through visuals, including pictures and videos.

For instance, the aesthetics of your photos on social media can suggest aspects of your personality, as the images and videos you post often reflect your interests. a homepage filled with food posts on Instagram may give others the impression that the user is a food enthusiast. Similarly, people might assume someone is a fan of girl subculture based on their posts featuring bizarre outfits with bright colors. Do you now see how do people process these images through their brains? That’s my point of today’s blog: your social media images will speak up for you automatically.

I’d like to share a recent experience of mine. A girl I met through Instagram initially described my personality as ‘introverted.’ In fact, I wasn’t surprised at all because the photos she saw of me were mostly deadpan. This experience reminded me of how easy it is to pretend to be someone you’re not on the internet. Most importantly, Instagram provides others with an infinite opportunity to define you based on your posts. People who are already familiar with you will shape their impressions based on your images, while those who don’t know you personally may form their own perceptions of your identity based on the common themes displayed in your posts.

Be aware that Instagram is a self-promotion platform

As digital creators on Instagram, externalizing our inner selves to others means presenting ourselves in the way we prefer. This isn’t necessarily about authenticity, but it does reflect your willingness to project a particular image of yourself. I emphasize the importance of viewing Instagram as a platform for self-promotion because users have absolute control over who they can become. This is closely related to the groups of people you can connect with or your desire to attract a specific audience due to law of attraction.

The last point to mention is that while Instagram is traditionally considered a mass communication media, it’s equally, if not more important, to view it as a platform for packaging ourselves. Let’s discuss what your opinion of Instagram is whenever you agree/disagree with me!