Can you Take a Picture of me Staring into the distance so I can Post it on Instagram!?

From the kardashians, to fitness gurus, beauty bloggers and foodies, Instagram now plays a huge role in business, clientele and reputation. It is also a platform that acts as a storytelling medium for many ordinary people and simply, a place where individuals share photos and small video clips with friends/followers.
I admit, I check Instagram literally whenever I get a chance. My phone is basically always in my hand so im constantly on social media, especially flicking through Instagram. I post photos regularly and love to make my page look pretty and following a theme, however I wouldn’t necessarily say that I care what others think of my images, or think that by posting images forms a sense of self establishment in a ‘show-off’ manner. Does this till mean I am quantifying myself? Am I collating ‘facts’ and figures and experiences and knowledge about myself on one, public platform?

Gary Wolf explains what the quantified self really means in his TED talks segment. He talks about the number of new technologies that essentially collate every single fact and figure about yourself, from sleeping patterns to the number of steps you did that day. He explains that these facts and figures are for self knowledge primarily and should be used to get to know yourself better. Is Instagram the complete opposite of this? Is it a place where we fake ourselves to make us look better? Or is it another fact about yourself? Does the number of followers or likes you have contribute to you self knowledge, or self perception? Leaders and followers: Status in the tech scheme states that ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ on various social media platforms ‘are all metrics that provides comparable measures of importance.’

My 14-Year-Old sister can be used as a perfect example of how Instagram use, may be linked with status. Olivia, times her photo-posting so as to attract the most views/likes/comments. With her growing up literally with social media, it is a much more crucial part of her everyday life. It’s not necessarily for validation that Olivia likes to do this, but more so to reach a larger audience at a given time and share with them something she is doing/loving/did/wearing etc… It is a part of her everyday life.
Status does however play a huge factor in Instagramer’s posting regime. For many, it’s all about photographs, filters, making your page flow and hash-tagging the right things for more likes, so you attract particular followers, views and even brands to your page. Sometimes Instagram is used as a platform to ‘show-off’ or even pretend that your doing something amazing, when its not really like that all the time. Most users will post the best parts of their life and completely exclude any negative connotations from their feed all together… and do we really blame them? I don’t. Does this basically mean people are faking their lives to make themselves look better? For self validation, or peer acceptance? For fame? In the article called Leaders and followers: Status in the tech scene, it explains that status refers to what your peers think about you. “yet what’s considered high status differs from context to context.”

It can be all about visibility, self validation and what people think of you and how you are perceived in the minds of others. And I admit, sometimes this is true for myself. You basically want people to know that your instagram theme is visually asthetic and flows and if you constantly post then people will always keep up to date with your feed, wait for more posts and like your images. It is a platform where people (including myself admittedly) post a picture whenever they are doing something cool or are visiting somewhere nice or when your view is nice or you are having fun with your friends or if your drinking a fancy champagne or wearing a new outfit, and as mentioned before, it is not REAL life.
This can lead though, and has, to many people being jealous of a particular person, feeling even more down about themselves and comparing their life to others.
On the other hand, you do sort of want people to think your ‘living the life,’ and most of the time it is not a true representation of your life. You could post a picture the next morning of ‘yay cocktails for my birthday at a rooftop bar’ looking all pretty and fancy, but in reality you went home and had a huge fight with your partner, or you got kicked out home for being too drunk etc…

Many individuals however, can and do make a living from promoting themselves and products on Instagram. Take Kim Kardashian for example, her Instagram feed is basically an advertising platform of HER and her life, which keeps people up-to-date and interested in following her – and thus watching ‘Keeping up With the Kardashians’, leading to more money for them.Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 6.05.22 pm.png

Kim K believes this selfie was posted because she is ‘liberated’, proud of her body and as a symbol of self empowerment. Other believe it was for attention, for advertisement, for the shock value… Whatever the true underlying meaning for the posting of this ‘selfie’ was, the fact that Instagram was the platform of choice and to see just how widespread the image became, proves that Instagram is a part of everyday life, apart of our lives and an important social media platform… whether we like it or not.

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