“In your most active personal digital network, why would you say you choose to contribute? Do you think of users differently based on the amount of their activity? How do you think this varies across different social media platforms?”
I decided to look at Instagram for this question, because I think it has the flexibility to exist for different purposes for different individuals. I’ll talk about why I use Instagram, how I see others on Instagram, and how it can be different for each user.
I’ve already talked about why I use Instagram on previous blog posts, but just to summarize I see Instagram as a way for me to explore my artistic potential through curating moments in my life. I am nowhere close to a professional photographer, but I think Instagram has made the idea of being a photographer very approachable for the everyday user. There is a much lower threshold with Instagram to start exploring photography than if I were to look into investing in a DSLR and different lenses should I pursue photography in reality. While I think Instagram is generally defined as a social media platform (because you are able to follow friends and comment/link their photos), I think I’m also beginning to use my Instagram profile as a portfolio of sorts. In fact the other day, I decided to delete a photo I took of Meyer because I felt like I hadn’t put enough artistic thought into that photo as opposed to some of my other photos. So I think in one sense, this social media platform has become an avenue through which I can see my own development as an “artist.” This is also not detached from the friends I follow, many of whom are also more concerned about the aesthetic of their photos.
Instagram is interesting because it can also be created for-profit. I have friends who get sponsors from clothing companies on Instagram, and they receive clothes and money if they showcase specific brands in their clothes. In fact, people can make a living on Instagram. We talked about how Facebook allows users and groups to pay for advertising, but I think Instagram showcases a more obvious form of how technology and social media can generate profit or act as a medium for business transactions.
Finally, how I view different content creators on Instagram is very similar, I think, to how I view my peers on Facebook. I pretty quickly assumed that people who post Instagram photos that are not similar to mine or my friends’ (ex: in terms of quality or what is actually being photographed) don’t share the same interests as me. I am reminded of on Facebook where maybe people whose thoughts, style of writing, or even frequency of posting statuses might deter me from feeling connected to them. All in all, I think there is definitely overlap between Instagram and all other social media platforms; but at the same time, Instagram also offers enough novelty to succeed as an additional social media platform.