Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bibliography/Citations for Instagram Post

All Things Alisa: To Instagram or Not?. (2014, April 30). All Things Alisa: To Instagram or Not?. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

Dickson, C. (n.d.). 10 Tips for Mastering Instagram - Digital Photography School. Digital Photography School RSS. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from\

Eler, A., & McCune, Z. (2012, March 12). Why Do People Use Instagram . . Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

Kessler, E. (2013). Social Media and the Movement of Ideas. European Judaism46(1), 26-35.   doi:10.3167/ej.2013.46.01.04

Mueller, K. (2014, March 17). 11 Reasons Why People Love and Use Social Media - Inkling Media. Digital Marketing Social Media SEO Lancaster PA Inkling Media RSS. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

Nanji, A. (2013, September 30). What Are the Best Days and Times to Post on Instagram?. MarketingProfs. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

Nitzburg, G. C., & Farber, B. A. (2013). Putting Up Emotional (Facebook) Walls? Attachment Status and Emerging Adults' Experiences of Social Networking Sites.Journal Of Clinical Psychology69(11), 1183-1190. doi:10.1002/jclp.22045

Penner, E. (2013, October 23). 7 tips for drool-worthy Instagram photos - ATE. ATE. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

Suler, J. (2013, September 4). Why we like photos so much. Loom. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from

Titlow, J. P. (2012, August 15). When Is the Best Time to post on Instagram . . Retrieved July 30, 2014, from
Instagram’s Instant Nostalgia - The New Yorker. (2012, April 12). The New Yorker. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

Is Instagram just another typical social media site?

Instagram(created in October 2010) from its variety of popular filters to its easy three second upload of endless selfies and pretty shots of landmarks; Instagram has this ability to turn our lives into a picture perfect story book.
But it far exceeds just a simple social networking app as Instagram is an entire culture of photo sharing and engagement.
The “Instagram Culture” as Zachary McCune, a researcher on a fellowship studying the software of Instagram users explains, “That the Instagram culture is a users’ composing and sharing of photos, commenting on other people’s photos, engaging in dialogue and discussions, but also studying the patterns of photos and being a part of sub-communities”.
As McCune highlights, the Instagram culture is almost like a brand new world that combines the love of photography with this idea of individuals engaging in communication, connection, and relationship building.
And the mobile app goes beyond the little iconic camera symbol that seems to be appearing everywhere, from our phones, popular websites, and businesses. Instagram is far more complex then what it first started out as which was, “just a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures” (Kevin Systrom, CEO, co-founder of Instagram).

Each user even owns a personal profile and ability to make a username specifically to his or her liking. With the tap of your username, individuals can take a look at what you are sharing and they are given a glimpse of how your life is playing out from pictures from afar. The app also allows for tagging and hash-tagging which allows users to link a followers profile to a specific photo, comment, or caption and the ability to search for anything that interests you. But again, it’s all about what you share that makes this app so fascinating because you can virtually share anything with anyone with just a tap of a button.
 Instagram also has a caption/comment limit of twenty-four hundred words which usually contains beautiful song lyrics, meaningful quotes, a list of unrelated hashtags, and/or even a small description behind each photo. Having a limit of characters is a way to make sure that the app focuses on pictures and for the users to develop their own interpretation and perception of what these pictures say and mean to them. In a way, it is for users to find their own connection with the photos they see and the people they follow.

But again, Kevin Systrom and MikeKieger, the CEO and co-founders of Instagram, found a way of bringing photos on a fun and entertaining level as the app has something called “Instagram days of the week” in which you post and hashtag photos according to each weekly trend.

Monday: “Man Crush Monday” (#mcm)
Tuesday: “Transformation Tuesday” (#transformationtuesday)
Wednesday:  “Woman Crush Wednesday” (#wcw)
Thursdays: “Throwback Thursday” (#tbt)
Fridays: “Flashback Fridays” (#fbf)
 Saturdays: Free to post anything you want
Sundays: “Selfie Sunday” (#ss #selfiesunday)

But the Instagram Culture does not stop there as there are even phrases/terms used by more of the die-hard users of this popular app.

Instagram Worthy”: A terminology expressed by users of Instagram to determine if a photo is deemed “worthy” by the terms of the Instagram culture (i.e. popularity, correct use of filters, a potential for a high number of likes and followers, a certain story of perspective behind it). But the term is also complex in that many individuals have their own definition of what “Instagram worthy photos” means to them.

In To Instagram or Not?, a blog about by All things Alisa, the blogger explains that what makes a photo “Instagram worthy” is by her own standards as she explains, “usually my decisions are instantaneous, if it’s cute I post it, if I look good, I post it, if I wanna make people jealous, I post it…..”. So again, “Instagram Worthy” for Alisa is defined by her own likings and standards of the photos she takes.
(selfies by Alisa)

But not for everyone, as Elle Penner, the blogger behind According to Elle, who wrote "7 Tips for DroolWorthy Instagram Photos", believe it is all about the manipulation of photos that makes or breaks a photo deemed as “Instagram Worthy” as she states that it is all about “the right angles, light, placing things in the right place of interest, simple background”. In other words, for Elle, Instagram is all about what is visually and artistically appealing to the eye that makes certain photos “worthy” enough to upload.

                                     (Photos by elle @ellepennerd)
And there is another phrase used which is “Instagram Hour”:

Instagram Hour”: is a terminology expressed by users of Instagram to determine the best hour in which your most dedicated followers will provide positive feedback in the form of comments and “likes”.

In ,What Are the Best Days and Times to Post on Instagram? By Ayaz Nanji, the author presents that even Fortune 500 companies use Instagram and post most frequently on Thursdays between 3-4pm as a business strategy to advertise products and services. However, a study done on Instagram hours and engagement revealed that, “Posts during business hours are only 6% more effective than off-hour posts”, explaining that there is no major significance between the time you post and feedback.

However, that may not be true for individuals who use the account just for the purpose of basic photo sharing as, John Paul Titlow, the author of, “When is the Best Timeto Post on Instagram?”, explains that effective Instagramming has a lot to do with the time in which you upload as he says that “the ideal time to post a photo on Instagram varies from users to user. It depends somewhat on what time zone the bulk of followers reside in, among other factors”. Again, knowing your followers and what times they most use Instagram is key in producing those likes and comments you most desperately hope for.

I have a funny story actually, a couple of weeks ago I took a selfie and posted it on Instagram and I posted it at a time that I knew most of my main “likers” were not on. So I posted the picture and I only got 12 likes. So then I was surprised and a little embarrassed, so I took it down and re-uploaded it a few hours later and I then got 23 likes (Okay I know what you are thinking…but can you blame me). Not only is this embarrassing because people who previously liked and seen the picture were really confused but it goes to show that sometimes, everyone finds themselves concerned with the response to there upload. And although it is frustrating that sometimes my 600 followers don’t double tap my photos…..I'm still going to continue to share (Even if that means to re-upload for more likes…..just kidding). I should have remembered what time it was…..
This was that photo......


But the world of Instagram does not stop there, as Instagram has features such as the ability to make 15 second videos to its array of digital filters such as: Valencia, Hudson, Mayfair,Sutro, 1977, Kelvin, Nashville, Hefe, Walden, Inkwell, Toaster, Brannan, Earlybird,Lo-fi, Willow, Sierra, X-Pro II, Rise, and Amaro. Each of these filters creates a way for individuals to bring their lifeless photos to life by providing a “creative” yet “false” lens to each photo. In a sense, these filters bring an artsy touch and manipulate the photo in a way that makes it seem like you took a year or two of photography lessons.
(link to photo)(click photo for link)
Take a look at what these filters do for the photo, each filter conveys it's own's own emotion, people pick certain filters not only to artistically add emphasis or to make a bad quality photo look better, it is also to convey a certain emotion or certain feeling along with the photo.
Take another look, this is a before and after shot of using the "Rise" filter on Instagram. I am not necessarily "distorting reality" but I am adding a bit of color back and brightening it in a way that looks like I was hit by the "sunrise". I also wanted it to go along with a quote I posted along with it "Stone face but your heart belongs to me", the "after" photo does a better job at displaying that.
Last but not least, here is another photo, comparing and contrasting the way Instagrammers use the 19 filters, in this particular photo, the Instagram user is comparing the "normal" to "Nashville" and "Sierra", not so much that the "normal" photo is not special but both "Nashville" and "Sierra" finds another way to connect to what we are trying to convey.
                                                              (link to photo)
And if this has not yet made your head spin, the app took a page out of popular photo editing websites such as Photoshop, in which Instagram now allows for digital edits to be made such as brightness and contrast, saturation, red-eye removal, and cropping/alignment.

However, as one may wonder what makes the 150 million monthly active users to continue to press that little camera on their IPhones and Androids; lies beneath the surface of the app.

Instagram is much more than a mere snapshot of current events, selfies, another basic social media site, a lack of creativity and a cheap snag off of photography lessons as some researchers claim; I argue that Instagram carries a sort of aesthetic quality radiating thought provoking emotions that are sometimes impossible to find in this world. What Instagram has done for our world is incredible because Instagram brings attention to the beauty of life through photos, a sense of new perspective that is motivating and inspiring, but what it also does is brings a sense of belonging that we all so desperately need.  
Instagram is another dimensional world; a world connected by photos in which, “convey feelings, report historical events and convey the emotion and drama attached to those events, offer glimpses into other people’s points of view, show us realities and lives that are completely foreign to us”. John Suler, the author of "Why we like photos so much," exemplifies how the simplistic idea of photo sharing takes users to a whole new level of social media usage. It is not so much about catching up with old friends and reconnecting with people back in high school anymore, it is about capturing the simple and precious things in life and being able to explore, share, and exchange those things with the world.

This photo crazed world  also brings a sense of nostalgia for some and for others Instagram is a keepsake virtual album and even a visual way to see your own life story. As one author from The New Yorker who wrote "Instagram's Instant Nostalgia", put it's, "We are creating a kind of instant nostalgia for moments that never quite were".
That is exactly why Instagram is so powerful because pictures are the proof to an experience and without taking the photo, people can only rely on a memory. In Christina Dickenson’s, 10 Tips for Mastering Instagram”, and being an avid user of Instagram herself, she explains that “photos tell stories, convey meaning, and capture moments we’d like to remember”.

When you tap to a friend’s account, it is almost like every picture is a chapter of their life, each with its own adventure, its own symbolism, and its own meaning, which leaves a sort of mysterious aura that may be one of the underlying reasons individuals crave the app. Instagram is a story book of pictures, as Dickenson highlights that the pictures “captures life’s milestones” as well as some pictures are “now sitting as my phone background, reminding me how precious these peaceful moments are in life”.

Take a look at a couple of these photos and think about what is so moving and so beautiful about each of these, when I take a look at each of these photos, it brings me to a place of peace, it makes me want to see what else this world has to offer, it makes me want to dive into the picture and never to come back to the harsh and cruel realities of our world.

Again, an author from The New Yorker, who wrote "Instagram's Instant Nostalgia", explains that "All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt". The author's words captures exactly the power behind a photo. A photo freezes time but what it also does is gives you access to another person's, thoughts, emotions, and feelings. When I take a look at these photos, it is almost as if the world stopped for a moment and allowed me to take these shots almost as if the world revealed itself to me.

And that is exactly what the power of a photo can do.
 John Suler highlights my point as he says that, “Instagram temporarily disarms us of our own view of the world, and allow us to experience it in a fresh way. Just as flow allows us to lose a sense of time and become absorbed into our task, mindfulness allows us to lose a sense of the world, and focus completely on the present moment”. That is precisely what Instagram did; it made me start to see the world through three lenses instead of two making me appreciate life’s beauty and all the little treasures that come along with it. Instagram made me appreciate the present moment for once instead of looking for the common “what’s next?” For once we are stopping to look at the world and seeing the true beauty behind life.

Again, Dickenson explains that because of Instagram she “noticed a little art or beauty in my daily life, everywhere I go, I find myself constantly asking, “is there a great shot here”. Her words are exactly why people keep coming back to Instagram and the reason why people are falling in love with picture taking; it is almost as if we are starting to get excited about life, the life that sometimes gets dull, boring, and too routine-like. It’s this simple idea of photo sharing that is bringing people back to life.

One of the main reasons that social media became so popular is it’s need for social engagement and that cannot happen unless people post content such as pictures, text, and videos. Posting and sharing is a way for individuals to express themselves and this expression is what inspires and motivates us. So in a way they are not only expressing for their selves but they are expressing for others to take a look and see as well. Although one should ever be living for the satisfaction of others, what Instagram does is build emotional intelligence and compassion as this is a community of individuals expressing themselves daily.

Take a look at both pictures, how does it move you? what does it do for you? It makes  some  individuals want to eat healthier, exercise “you can do it, I can do it mentality”, it makes others want to support cancer relief, become a nurse, work in the health connects....and it builds.
Again, people are expressing themselves on Instagram through art, music, writing, dancing, and among other things, they want to show the world that they are pursuing things that they are most passionate about. In How Can We Use Social Media ToCultivate Happiness, by SmileEpidemic, that is the basis behind the writers essay, that we should take our social media usage and turn it into a way to cultivate society in a positive direction. We should use Instagram as a tool to inspire and a tool to get inspired because that is what will build a better you and build a better world. The writer also explains that we should use social media to foster real-life social connection; sending funny pictures to brighten a relatives day, post a photo of something you appreciate, or tag a photo of your friends to let them know you are thinking about them. That is how one builds there relationship; they share and engage and altogether can cultivate happiness within there own social media usage.

I often times look at my own Instagram usage, I am an Instagrammer  because I have this  dying    love for photography but what I am also doing is expressing myself through my piano compositions that I post. When I post a 15 second video of my piano composition and I find myself with 20 likes and positive feedback; that inspires me to continue doing what I love. What I am trying to get across is that if I have the opportunity to make others passionate and expressive about the things they love, then I will continue to express myself and to others. If I see someone post their love for food or dance, then hey, I want to try that too and if I fail, then I’ll have gained an experience which is most important of all.  
Another way that Instagram has expanded past typical the typical social media stigma is Instagram’s way of fostering relationships building a community. Again, as I explained before, everyone wants to belong somewhere, whether that is a small group or a large organization, people want to connect with others. In Ken Mueller’s, “11 Reasonswhy People Love and Use Social Media”, the author explains that this need to belong is, “why we join groups and organizations. We join clubs, churches, and civic organizations. But what social media does is allows us to be a part of community, not dictated by space or location, and in general, these communities tend not to be exclusive, nor do they have insurmountable barriers to entry.” Instagram in itself is a community, a community of people sharing their lives, their stories, and their interests and as the author explains, there is no limit, no standards or rules.

Even a study done by George C. Nitzburg and Barry A. Farber’s, Putting Up Emotional (Facebook) Walls? Attachment Status and Emerging Adults’ Experiences of Social Networking Sites, explores that individuals who struggle with social anxiety and social disorders are using sites like Instagram or Facebook as a needed comfort or a way for individuals to escape. Those same people who are posting selfies or beautiful scenery may be using photo sharing as an outlet for their anxiety. The users of social media all share one thing in common, they all want to be seen and heard, they want to be the criticizer as well as the publisher, and most of all everyone wants to be a part of something, whether that is large or small.

Nevertheless, whether the group or community is large or small, Alicia Eler, the author who wrote, Why People Use Instagram, as well as investigated Instagram, highlights that “People want more than anything to exchange images with others throughout the network, find people with whom they had common interest, document the world around them” and Instagram is the perfect venue for that. We can explore virtually anything we want, see other people's interests and passions, share our own experiences.
As Edward Kessler, the author behind Social Media and the Movement of Ideas,, puts it, social media provides a space for us to discuss ideas, concerns, complaints, and to share frustrations but what it also does is unite, strategize, and fosters change. Kessler’s words reveals that we share this sense of commonality because there is this constant ongoing sharing of art, politics, music, rants, sports through photos and so on, and because of people sharing beautiful scenery or a painting, It has created a web of social engagement.

Again, McCune, points that “there are a lot of things in a photo that someone can respond to, promote conversation and then you get a wonderful interaction out of it”, which is exactly what the creators of Instagram envisioned; making photography engaging.

And that is exactly the design behind Instagram, the founders wanted to create this keepsake or visual story for you so that you do not have to just speak but you can show visuals of you experiences. This is what fosters connection and relationships, the ability to share a memory or experience, but what it also does is provide a connection to your own identity. In this world, people are quickly judged and easily misunderstood, but Instagram paves a way to get rid of inequality in a sense that everyone is on Instagram for one thing, the enjoyment of photo taking and photo sharing of everyday things.

I wanted to reflect upon my own Instagram experience, other Instagram users actually inspired me to start living in a way in which I appreciated and wanted to gain experiences and memories.

I am an Instagrammer, because I love the idea of taking pointless selfies and taking pictures of food that didn’t actually taste all that great and sharing it to the world. I like appearing on people’s newsfeeds and racking up a bunch of likes because maybe it is filling that empty space of achieving popularity that I lacked in high school.

I love Instagram because I feel like I am a part of something, a part of a community of individuals sharing with the world, expressing themselves. Maybe some are sharing for the wrong reasons and maybe some people are looking for “Instagram Fame” but whatever the reason, they are expressing themselves and sharing nonetheless and I think that’s pretty amazing.

I am an Instagrammer because I am a  majoring in creative advertising. Visuals and concepts are my life. Instagram gives me inspiration and motivation to take on more experiences and live life to its fullest, taking every opportunity possible, so that I can share my story with others. Maybe I don’t have a smile on my face 24/7 and I am not hanging out with my friends every day, but by having an Instagram I am showing others and myself that I am finally putting the life back into my life.

What Instagram did for me was made me more excited than ever to take family photos and go on little trips with people.  Instagram made me realize that I was alive but just not living. I was not going out and seeing the world, I was not valuing relationships or time but ever since I began to bring a camera everywhere I went, I started to see how beautiful this world really is. How beautiful people really are. How important my posts are to some people. How important people’s posts are to me. How important these posts are to my own life story.

Moreover, Instagram allowed us to gain perspective on new experiences that are sometimes not seen or captured by us. It brings to light the passions, evokes emotions, the artistic expression, the aesthetic and connection and is altogether motivating and that is why Instagram is so refreshing because it’s not just an another social networking/media app. Instagram is a community let alone an actual culture not limited by the number of followers you have or the way you look, Instagram brings freedom to photo sharing. Individuals can take any type of picture they want without making a big deal about them or losing the artistic expression that makes YOUR shots unique from others. These precious yet simple moments in life are starting to become important to us again, almost as if we are really valuing our time here on earth.

Instagram is so fascinating because the picture you took with your newborn niece tells a story, it’s a memory but it is also art. Maybe there is something even deeper behind the photo sharing element of Instagram, maybe it is a web of artists, inventors, and creative thinkers to come together and change the world. Some say that Instagram alters the real world, but Instagram is the real world, just portrayed from the lens of a camera.