Beyond a Social Media Site

Instagram has rejuvenated the world of photography. Building a bridge that connects art and culture to the forefront of the world, with the simple click of a button transforming its initial audience into amateur photographers. The platform itself creates a domain to share and explore your ideas, a quality not easy to find in reality. 60 million photos are posted daily with more than half of this number dedicated to the infamous selfie (Smith, 2014). But where did this profound sense of power and self-awareness develop from?

When looking at the Jenkins theories of convergence he discusses the role of the consumer and its dynamic transition from once a stationary position stating that “the new consumer is active”. (Jenkins, 2004) This concept is clearly evident when exploring the audience involved with Instagram. This belief has been achieved through the growth of the technology and therefore the audience and thus we saw the creation of the prosumer.

Prosumerism, the consumers of the product are simultaneously creating the product. Brilliant! It seems so simple that is almost stupid but it works. For Instagram creators Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger they made $1 billion dollars off it. People now have the ability and the right to control what they want to see. If I want to follow an account about goats I can! The audience has now become empowered to surround themselves with the media they WANT.

The reason behind the success of Instagram is quite simple, accessibility. Traditionally the process to share a photo with your friends was long and tedious; I know I was always losing my memory card! But once Instagram came to play editing, filters and sharing was all in one convenient snack sized pocket. The innovative ‘front camera’ took over the world allowing ultimate selfie shots and even more options for artistic expression. Selfie with a mango, selfie in a tree and Kim Kardashian even exploring the possibilities with her failed attempt of an elephant selfie just the other day.

As a species it is integral for our survival that we belong and I believe Instagram encourages participation from all corners of the world. It’s an app that can unite communities and cultures together by learning to embrace and interpret other images.

“It’s about having an audience for what you produce and participating in an audience for other peoples photos” (Jessica Zollman)

Jenkins, H, 2004, Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol 1, pp. 33-43

Prives, G, 2013, Instagram and its Impact on the World of Photography, Digital Photography School, Date Accessed 4/4/2014, http://digital-photography-school.com/instagram-and-its-impact-on-the-world-of-photography 

Smith, C, 2014, 65 Interesting Instagram Statistics, DMR Digitial Marketing Ramblings, Date Accessed 4/4/2014, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/

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