For my major project of the course, I choose to provide comments on my personal journey of using social media apps as part of me being transformed into a digital citizen. I choose in this blog to provide some in-depth introduction to Instagram.
I am not a social media user. I had Instagram on my mobile a long time ago. It is my habit of downloading every app my kids mention, so I get a sense of how it looks like. I used Instagram several times over the past two weeks. It is a user-friendly and straightforward app.
What is Instagram?
According to the App store: “Instagram from Facebook, Bringing you closer to the people and things you love. Connect with friends, share what you’re up to, or see what’s new from others all over the world. Explore our community where you can feel free to be yourself and share everything from your daily moments to life’s highlights.”
- Instagram is the number 1 app in the Photos & Video category
- It has a rating of 4.7 based on 1.4 million reviews (Wow, that is a lot of reviews!!!)
- We are in version # 127
- According to Cindy Liu, a senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer.com, “Instagram Is the Fastest-Growing Social Media Platform in Canada.”
- According to CIRA, Instagram is the third most popular social media network in Canada after Facebook and LinkedIn.
There are many reasons why Children/teens love Instagram? Quoting my kids:
- Can communicate with friends and family without a phone number (only a small percentage of Canadian kids who have a phone also have a phone subscription)
- Can share posts and receive likes, comments and more.
- Can see other people’s posts like your favourite team, favourite sports player and more.
- Can enter giveaways to earn prizes.
- Can create and post your own stories and customize it
- Can be updated of everything happening around the world
- Can learn various tips and tricks
How you communicate and use Instagram?
Main features on Instagram include:
- I can browse and explore posts from those I follow. I can watch their stories by clicking on their photos above the post. Also, from the top, I can check all of the new stories from people I follow.
- I can like, share or comment on posts
- I can bookmark posts and organize them in folders like Pinterest
DM(Direct Messaging): I can send messages privately to people I follow. However, anyone can send me a message (after approving them) even if my account is private. The DM works like Facetime or Messenger. I can use it as a chat tool or make video calls.
Creating Stories: This feature alone has been a very famous addition to some of the social media apps. I can create and post stories by clicking on the camera icon at the top left corner of the app. Instagram works like Snapchat on this part. The story you create only lasts for 24 hours then disappears. I can make the story stay longer than the 24 hours by highlighting it. The limit time of a single story is 15 sec. I can create multiple 15-sec segments to create a lengthy story or use IGTV
IGTV: It can be used to create longer videos. Anyone have full access to IGTV’s content. No parental controls at all and lots of adult content, which is quite problematic from parents’ point of view.
Discovery: It allows me to search for videos, posts or photos on Instagram by clicking on the magnification lens. I can see posts from people even if I am not following them.
I find Instagram entertaining and addictive. I kind of understand now why it is so popular among students. Here are a few observations after using it frequently for two weeks.
- Since I signed up for Instagram, I decided to follow only family and friends. However, I was drawn to follow more people each time I am checking it until I found myself following 120 people [now 318 :-)) as per the picture]. With so much posts, I discovered that I don’t see posts from my family and friends’ as much as before. I couldn’t keep up with all these posts from influencers, fashionistas, chefs, and news outlets. I had to create another account after only two weeks of frequent usage. I created another account to follow things I am interested in and kept my original one for family and friends. I found my daughter did something similar and created what she calls “a spam account” jointly with her best friend. The definition is worrying me but I am happy I know about it now. This will give me a chance to talk to my daughter on how to protect herself.
- Instagram is designed to keep you scrolling and scrolling with no clear end. I found this quite distracting and addictive, to say the least (let alone how much time kids spend on it)
- Hashtags are a very powerful searching method on Instagram. The problem is Instagram is quite visual not like Twitter, so you can expect to see all sorts of visuals when you search for something. This is quite worrying for me as a parent, and I am not sure how to filter these images.
- Instagram Is now hiding likes counter, which I find a good move to make users focus more on the content and quality of the post, not how many likes the post got.