Social and Personal Issues with Instagram

Narcissism, narcissism everywhere. Spend a minute scrolling through a couple of celebrity Facebook and Instagram feeds and you will see enough narcissism to make me question why these pages exist in the first place. I was the only person in class to have not taken a selfie for others to view, so maybe I’m not one to ‘understand’ or have an opinion on the laws of social media when it comes to broadcasting and selfie taking, but I will try anyway.

I’ll be honest, the reason I don’t like taking selfies mainly involves not wanting to see a picture of myself, but I also don’t understand why it’s necessary. Why do we as a population idolise famous people, follow their every more on social media and press the like button when something involving them appears on the screen? I could rant on for a while on social media, but to keep it short, are we becoming a society where our thoughts of ourselves are shaped when our actions are recognised by others? It seems like many people are striving to be ‘instafamous’, where getting enough followers encourages sponsorship deals and the opportunity to live off posting images. Katherine Sabbath was a full time teacher who posted images of her desserts in her free time. As of June 2015 she had 125,000 Instagram followers, and has now stepped down from teaching to focus on her social media account. Today she has more than 283,000 followers. She has become a celebrity.

A key quote from Politics of Recognition written by Charles Taylor says ‘our identity is partly shaped by recognition of others’. I think this is becoming increasingly relevant to social media as many users are driven by reassuring comments, number of followers, and an increasing amount of likes on each successive selfie. I think there are many Instagram users who see accounts with hundreds of thousands, even millions of followers, and wish for the same level of recognition.

I heard a saying that has stuck by me for a few years. I don’t know where I heard it, but it reads ‘don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.’ You shouldn’t view someone else’s Instagram life and compare it with your own. Usually someone doesn’t share a selfie with others unless they feel it paints them in a positive light. It may have taken them 20 minutes pulling a face at their camera to get the perfect picture.

While researching for this blog I came across a video demonstrating the idea where the increase in social media is causing an increase in loneliness.

‘Instead of building true friendships, we’re obsessed with endless personal promotion, investing hours on end building our profile, …choosing the pictures in which we look our best, all of which is meant to serve as a desirable image of who we are.’

I feel this quote is especially true. We are able to edit the negative parts of our life and broadcast the highlight reel to followers to see. The problem is when we look at ourselves in comparison to someone else’s highlight reel, which I think links to the key point of this post. Looking at ourselves in comparison can be a problem. Judging self-worth is an issue for many. Feeling a validation from others is becoming a necessity.

 

Links:

Politics of Recognition – Charles Taylor:

http://elplandehiram.org/documentos/JoustingNYC/Politics_of_Recognition.pdf

The innovation of loneliness:

https://vimeo.com/70534716

Instafamous: How do people make money from Instagram?

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/thefeed/story/instafamous-how-do-people-make-money-instagram

https://www.instagram.com/katherine_sabbath/

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