Instagram

Instagram, Social Media, Symbol, Communication, Icon

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

Statistics

  • 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:

Home button:

  • 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.

For my next post, I will focus more on Instagram’s privacy and terms of use and how.

Major project Update

Alec asked us to provide an update of our major project, thinking specifically about how my project relates to one or more elements of digital citizenship. 

With this substantial global penetration of social media and its significant impact on all aspects of our life ( Personal, educational and professional), there is a need for a framework to teach Digital Citizenship to our kids has become essential and crucial.  The nine elements of digital citizenship by Mike Ribble are a great framework and guideline to know what does it mean to be a digital citizen? Common Sense Education describes digital citizenship simply as “the responsible use of technology to learn, create, and participate.” Mike Ribble says that “digital citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology.” It basically defines how we use technology to engage with our community. Use technology to communicate at work, to buy/ sell online and to participate in online debates to discuss societal/global issues.   Therefore, when thinking of my major project, the following three elements of the nine elements came to my mind:

Social Media, Social, Media, Www, Icons, Icon Communication: This can be defined as “the electronic exchange of information.” Social media has become the primary form of communication among today’s generation. Digital citizens need to learn how to: 

  • Exchange information properly
  • Make appropriate decisions when communicating through social media apps. 
  • Raise the awareness of what to share and how to share it, 
  • Don’t share personal information or direct messages people you don’t know.
  • Know that when they delete a message or a photo, it doesn’t mean that it has been erased forever and that it can still be stored somewhere in the cloud. 
  • Protect themselves from cyberbullying and learn not to bully others. 

Media Literacy, Technology, Digital Citizenship, Candy Fluency/ Literacy: According to Mike Ribble, “it is the process of understanding technology and its use. The better educated or “digitally fluent” students are, the more likely they are to make the right decisions online, like supporting others instead of making negative comments. Digital literacy includes the discussion of media literacy and the ability to discern good information from poor, such as “fake news” from real news.”  Therefore, I am planning to provide information on how to use each app I am reviewing, highlight the main features and elements, how to use the app to our advantage and how to determine the accuracy of the information we access through these apps to make wise choices. With some apps like Instagram, I think I can reflect on the Digital Commerce element.  These are all essential skills that students must be equipped with to be able to compete and live in today’s culture. 

Digital commerce is growing significantly to the point it affects the regular retail industry. Ribble defined this element as “the electronic buying and selling of goods and focuses on the tools and safeguards in place to assist those buying, selling, banking, or using money in any way in the digital space. Career and technical education use the tools of technology to show students the path for their futureMaking a well-informed purchasing decision online is very important these days.  Tips on how to purchase online, what type of payment should we use? How to protect our paying method information? Choose who to buy from? Are all fundamental skills that our students, even adult, should be aware of and learn. 

The updated version of the nine elements of digital citizenship emphasized three guiding principals Safe, Savvy and Social (or S3). I would like to focus on the Safe (Protect yourself.Protect others) part of S3 on my major project by understanding our rules and responsibility while using each app. Read and analyze the terms of use and privacy policy. Moreover, learn how to protect our personal information and data online. 

With all these guidelines and frameworks in mind, I feel like my social media journey will be kind of exploring how to best use each app and how to be a good digital citizen while using it. I am excited as I am starting to look at apps with a different lens than before. I am confident I will learn a lot along my journey. 

“Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool, it is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology.”

Dr. Mike Ribble

Major Project idea

I have been thinking a lot about what option to choose for my major project. Like AdamCatherine, Laurie, and many other of my EC&I 832 classmates  I decided to select Option 2: Personal journey into the media.

I am not a heavy user of Social media, and I feel it is about time to learn about different applications. I have four kids’ age ranges from 11 to 18. I need to understand the world they live in and be able to discuss things based on knowledge, not on what I prefer or used to when I was at their age.

For example, I never read the terms of use or privacy policy for any of my apps or software. Is it essential to do so for social media apps?

It is crucial for me at the end of this personal journey to be able to answer some of these few questions

  • What are the benefits of social media for our kids?

  • What are some of the privacy issues those apps have?
  • What they need to know to handle any issues they face using them?
  • How can “parents” keep them safe on social media?
  • How students can digitally collaborate?
  • Understand what is Cyberbullying; how can it happen using the selected apps and how our kids can stand up against it?
  • Can social media be used to help solve national/ international problems?

To be able to answer these questions, I will:

  1. Create accounts on these platforms and use them a fair amount of time
  2. Review each app in details
  3. Check the terms of uses and privacy policy for each app
  4. Highlight the pros and cons.

I hope to develop infographic guidelines at the end of reviewing each app for parents and students that include:

  • How to safely use each app
  • How can  (educational) resources be accessed through apps?
  • Variety of resources to educate students about digital citizenship
  • How to use social media for digital commerce in a cashless society?
  • social media culture and etiquette
  •  rights and responsibilities of users

I asked my kids about the most popular apps nowadays. They mentioned Snapchat, Tiktok and Instagram. I choose Snapchat and Instagram.

They weren’t much of a help for the educational one. I am thinking of starting with Flipgrid. Can you recommend some of the other educational apps you use in the classroom?