For my second day on how I use media (March 22, 2017) I’ll be focusing on one particular platform of online media (my most used and my most public) – Instagram.
Over the past 24 hours, while I’ve been awake, I’ve checked my Instagram feed once every 25-30 minutes – on average. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what I was doing and if I was alone. Habit plays a large role in frequency of checking, as does for entertainment purposes and the idea of fear of missing out – the need or desire to want to stay up to date and not miss anything, as well as the need for constant communication.
That’s how I consumed Instagram, but today I also actively contributed to it. I uploaded 3 photos and a video to my Instagram Story – a feature that allows me to make posts that can be viewed chronologically one after the other that disappear after 24 hours. This is an interesting feature, because it allows me to post things that I may not want permanently on my own feed, but I may still want to be active on Instagram or show my followers certain things. I also uploaded a photo to Instagram, which I’ll be going through in detail today.
My Instagram could be viewed as curated, a constructed persona of myself, and it’s definitely not a realistic portrayal of my everyday life. I don’t really look at it like an actual representation of me or my life, moreso just a collection of images that I think look nice together. I generally don’t try to make my online image on this platform very personal, and my posts mostly include ‘selfies’, ‘flatlays’, travel photos, photos with friends and other points of interest including makeup, fashion and food. I don’t really post about what I do on a daily basis, nor very much about myself. For today’s post, I created a flatlay image, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a photo of objects laid out flat and usually taken from above. This can serve many purposes for advertising or marketing; this is a good way of highlighting items from particular brands – they can be tagged and easily featured (which I’ve done in the past), it can also be a good method for getting exposure, often if you tag brands they may repost your image and hopefully credit you – potentially growing your follower base. I generally post these because I think they look nice, while also breaking up the types of images I post so they’re not all of me.
A lot of work can go into these images, and what I’m focusing on today is how false and contrived they can be. It’s important to note, that a lot of these images that I, and even more-so social media influencers post, are not natural or effortless. While it only took a couple of minutes to arrange the items that I already had on hand, and then a couple of minutes to choose and edit an image on photo-editing apps on my phone, sometimes an entire hour (and even longer) can be spent, making sure it’s perfect.
I used my iPhone 6 to take the photos, and apps Facetune and VSCO cam to edit them. For this post, I didn’t tag anything or anyone, I also generally don’t use hashtags. I merely captioned it with an emoji, and within an hour it had 178 likes. Here you can see a before and after from editing these images, and below you can see how they sit on my Instagram feed.