InstaGood or InstaBad

Instagram-on-a-smart-phon-008

By Courtney

“ Wow, I haven’t looked at my phone in four hours, I really need to catch up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see what’s going on with my friends and in the world”- This is a frequent thought most young people have, let’s be real.

So let’s talk about Instagram.

Instagram is a social-networking app that allows people to post photos, videos, like and comment on other people’s posts, and get likes and comments on their own photos. It’s an app that screams “self-esteem enabler.”

People post photos of their best “selfies”, their amazing vacations, the pineapple they ate for dinner, the succulents they just bought, or that hipster coffee shop they just had to take a picture of. (I will be posting the link to the Bored Panda article on the trending hipster Barbie that hilariously mocks the hipster culture. You may also follow the Instagram by searching @socalitybarbie. I couldn’t help but laugh on how accurate it was, but I am also guilty of following instagrams like these because…well…I have high hopes in my life.)

I always wonder what these people look like in action when they take those photos. We have all seen that person sitting in the restaurant more concerned about getting the perfect shot of their food and just the right filter to make their friends envious of where they are eating. Surely, I am guilty of trying to attempt this, and I definitely feel the most awkward, so I don’t doubt I am being made fun of by everyone that’s looking at me.

In all reality, when we see a good photo of someone, a person with beautiful clothes, attractive places to be, or anything desirable, we tend to envy that. A term social psychologists like to call “the lifestyle envy,” or the “Instagram envy.” It’s the idea that Instagram users immediately become the ultimate consumers—you see attractive people in beautiful places so you go out of your way to buy the clothes they were wearing, or plan a trip to that certain place, just to take photos of it. If you think about it, psychologically there tends to almost always be someone better and more attractive. It’s a straight-up competition on whose life is better and getting more recognition for being attractive and having an attractive lifestyle. Instagram enables this competition and envy.

I recently read about a study by New York marketing communications firm JMT that stated 54% of people said that “social recognition and status” were a big part of the new modern American Dream. Are you surprised? Because I surely am not.

People get stressed when they haven’t posted a photo in a week, or post photos from a million years ago just to get likes. Flashback Friday, anyone? Even more stressful, is when a person posts a picture that gets no likes. This leads to people often texting their friends telling them, “Hey, like my Instagram picture! It has like no likes. :(”

In an article from Psychology Today by Larry Rosen, he discusses ” the power of ‘likes'”. Getting those likes makes a person feel even more liked, or loved. It is a simple self-esteem booster. Rosen also quoted Sherry Turkle, a professor of computer culture at MIT and I found myself and agreeing with what she said.

“ These days, insecure in our relationships and anxious about intimacy, we look for technology for ways to be in relationships and protect ourselves from them at the same time. The problem with digital intimacy is that it is ultimately incomplete: the ties we form through the Internet are not, in the end, the ties that bind. But they are the ties that preoccupy. We don’t want to intrude on each other, so instead we constantly intrude on each other, but not in ‘real time.” –Sherry Turckle

The idea that she is trying to get across is that you don’t want to feel like you are intruding on a person’s life constantly, to the point of annoyance. So you rely on technology and social media. For Instagram, it means going on their page to like their photos and see what they are liking themselves. This frequently happens in romantic relationships and friendships. We will look at their Instagram to check up on what they are posting. We also have a tendency to look for potential threats to our relationship. In a romantic relationship, individuals often feel like their relationship is in jeopardy when they see their significant other has been liking photos of another girl or guy. This illustrates how the “power of likes” can have a negative effect on our relationships.

Since this is a relationship blog, Instagram has had major influence on romantic relationships. I have heard numerous people and have seen a number of “memes” about how someone would text their significant other and they wouldn’t get a text back, only to find out they have been on Instagram liking photos of that “one girl.” So naturally, you’re like “OMFG, YOU’RE KIDDING” when you log on to Instagram and see that your boyfriend has liked a bikini shot of Brittany. So that in turn causes tension and arguments in relationships. The arguments often begin with, “why aren’t you responding to my text/Snapchat/call but I can see that you’ve been on Instagram liking some other girl’s photos!” I do hope this only applies to the younger crowd in high school, but let’s be honest, there are definitely some of those people out there at the college+ level that let social media like Instagram affect their relationships. Of course there are some positives in having Instagram in regard to relationships such as: being able to keep up with long-distance friendships, staying in touch with trends, ideas, etc. Unfortunately, even the combination of Instagram and friendships could cause some tension in the relationship. Seeing photos of your best friend with her new “best friend” that they are always hanging out with or seeing all your friends hanging out and you’re working or doing the “Netflix and chill” all by your lonesome self. As long as there is Instagram, there will always be a connection between Instagram and relationships.

So for anyone that can relate to all of these things, just know that Instagram doesn’t define people’s lives, self-worth, or your relationships with your significant other or friends for that matter. Sure, it’s a confidence booster when you get those likes or when your crush creeps your profile, but your relationships are so much more than Instagram!

Check out this link for the hipster barbie article !

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