What is Instagram Becoming?

By Caroline Galliani

The Crown (Wilmette, Illinois)

Why exactly was a separate app created to boost likes on one’s Instagram photos? When was the unspoken rule created that you “must” have more followers than people your’e following? And who the heck decided that I can’t post a photo of myself unless it’s Sunday?…

Instagram, a free mobile smartphone application established in 2010 by Mike Krieger, has recently started to gain popularity over Facebook in younger generations. Instagram is essentially a social media website that only allows a user to post photos. If you ‘follow’ an account, that person’s photos will show up in your feed. If you double-tap a photo, it accounts for a ‘like.’

A recent phenomenon I have started to notice is the apparent importance of likes on a photo. I hear friends say to one another, “Hey I just posted a photo on Instagram, go like it!” The number of likes on a photo has become a new found achievement. By increasing the number of followers one has, and likes on a photo one receives, the user is creating an internet-version of herself that makes her look interesting, fun, and of course, popular.

Of course nobody wants to think of themselves as this type of person. But if the end goal in “follow-for-follow” and “like-for-like” isn’t achieving popularity, or at least looking popular, then what is it?

It’s an easy trap to get sucked into, and is indeed hard to avoid. But if you just take a few moments to step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s easy to see. It’s sad enough that popularity is a goal in life, but to me the way popularity is established is even worse—followers.

According to Dictionary.com, a “follower” is described as “a person who follows another in regard to his or her ideas or beliefs; disciple or adherent.” I’m not too sure how many high school Instagrams feature ones’ beliefs and values in an inspiring way, but I can tell you mine doesn’t.

For the most part, Instagram is a fun, harmless website. However, the ideals it promotes can sometimes be unhealthy. Fixing this problem is easy, and starts with self-awareness. Remember that likes on a photo doesn’t measure popularity or happiness—happiness is self-derived.

Image Credit: Pocket-lint

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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