Out of thousands of photo applications available to us why is it that Instagram has so triumphantly taken off? It’s actually quite simple. It simply was the first, best one available to us. Constructed around an element of ‘casual simplicity’ it enables each individual to feel as if there is some artistic merit to their work (Bolt, 2011). Looking beyond the screen how does Instagram embody the ideology of convergence Jenkins so passionately describes? Technology and society share a synergistic relationship, learning and developing off one another. Jenkins explores this perception illustrating the impact media convergence has in altering the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audience(Jenkins, 2004) thus resulting in a continual transitional nature of media. In 2010, when Instagram was founded, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger strived to achieve a site where
“We were able to translate photography from being a form of self-expression into a form of communication” (Kevin Systrom)
By creating a template, a blank canvas for individuals to use they empowered the audience by granting them control over what media they personally selected, providing a safe haven, supportive of each and every single persons ideological beliefs. This concept is a recent revolutionary change seen within many social media platforms, where consumers are influencing the production and distribution of media content. Just as Jenkins described, the modern age consumer is becoming an active participant, literally taking the media into their own hands.
Instagram has simply been able to achieve this phenomenon through meticulous attention to detail, not only in creating the images but delivering them. The relatively high quality of technology available to ‘amateur’ photographers permitted images to be taken at a similar standard to that of a DSLR camera(). Being able to discover new images simply by scrolling down your newsfeed, searching hashtags or even exploring the ‘Popular’ page grants individuals to search the media they wish to seek.
By allowing the community to take over control, the ability to shape direction over cultural influences has become more democratic, compared to a small collective group of a few authoritarian figures. However, this change hits like a domino effect. A transition within the cultural industries ignites a new way in which materials circulate. A rising the question of regulating media content, an issue of concern as accessibility increases how to we moderate appropriate content entering our homes and work places? This period of change has encouraged a new ideological belief where it is up to the individual, to again play an active role in what they believe is applicable to their families.
Convergence is a never ending process which will continue to alter the way our media, and therefore our communities are natured. Instagram, at the moment is just one tool leading the pack that grants individuals their social rights. I just hope people will be able to accept that we don’t all think alike.
Bolt, N, 2011, Why is Instagram so Popular: Qulaity Audience and Restraints, Techcrunch, Date Accessed 3/4/2014, http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/27/why-instagram-is-so-popular/
Dishman, L, 2014, Instagram is Shaping up to be the Worlds most Powerful Selling Tool, Forbes, Date Accessed 3/4/2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/lydiadishman/2014/02/13/instagram-is-shaping-up-to-be-the-worlds-most-powerful-selling-tool/
Jenkins, H, 2004, Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol 1, pp. 33-43
2011, Start up Story: Kevin Systrom of Instagram, Behind the Hustle, Date accessed 4/4/2014, http://behindthehustle.com/2013/01/start-up-story-kevin-systrom-of-instagram-2/