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Instagram is a social networking service that enables its user to upload and share photos and videos. This networking service was created and launched in October 2010 by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom (Hu, Manikonda and Kambhampati, 2014, n.p). Instagram is now owned by Facebook Inc. after being bought in 2012 for $1 billion cash and stock. In April 2012, Instagram released its version for Android and its upgrading process continued in the same year when its feature-limited website was released. In 2016, Window 10 Mobile and Window 10 Instagram apps were released to be used by the public. The app incorporates features like filter that enables the user to transform an amateur photo into a professional and artistic image (Jones, Guido and Severo, 2017, n.p). Moreover, Instagram allows users to share their experience with their followers in real-time by using a feature like live video. Admittedly, with the state feature, Instagram has improved the manner in which people communicate since it convenient and cheap to use. However, Instagram is one of the social media has facilitated false of advertisement of reality making people live in the fantasy of social media lifestyle. This paper will reflect on effects of Instagram as well as how this social networking service has facilitated false advertainment of reality.
Admittedly, usage of Instagram has impacted negatively in the lives of people. Instagram of the social media platform that has promoted advertisement of false reality starting with the appearance of individuals, products, lifestyles shared on this platforms, news, and advertising. This false reality has impacted negatively on the lives of individuals. One way in which Instagram has facilitated false advertisement of reality is through false beauty in advertising. False beauty in advertisement has put pressure on people find a way in which they can also look good like the people the view in these advertisements. Most advertisement using models whose picture has been photoshopped and filter in that they have enlarged muscles, smooth skins, and slim waist. All of this is just perfection in the name of advertising since most of these pictures do not reflect the reality. However, people viewing these advertisements especially younger age tend to perceive these images to true hence the aspire to look as perfect as these models (Hawkins, 2017, n.p). Many individuals have become unsatisfied with their bodies hence they going an extra mile to look good. People are now using steroids, diet pills, Botox injections, beautifying surgery and plastic surgery for them to look goods. These methods that people used in order to look good tend to be harmful to their health.
False beauty advertising on Instagram made people depressed about their bodies hence most of them do lack self-esteem and self-confidence. People can no longer have the confidence to work in public because of what they perceive as ‘unperfect body shape’ and they are afraid that other people may laugh at them because of their ‘bad looking body’. People have left their essential responsibilities sacrificing most of their time to obtain ideal weight and body shape (Al Nashmi, E., 2018, p98-117). However, doing exercise in order to achieve ideal shape and weight may be helpful in individuals’ healthy life but using of steroid and Botox injection in achieving the same purpose leading to bad side effects damaging the user’s body. For example, Botox injection has can lead to muscles weakness, headache, fever sore throat and swelling of the injected parts.
Instagram has also influenced the promotion of fake lifestyles by its user. Most of the life experiences that people share on Instagram is not real. Pictures that people post on Instagram is usually not real instead they are only meant for self-promotion leading to the development of perfection in order to attract attention. Social media celebrities are normally paid advertise on Instagram since they have a high number of followers. The put fancy clothes, cars, taking pictures in big hotels so that they can respect in the society and attract more attention. Their followers are also trying to emulate them by trying to copy their lives so that they can also be respected by other people even if they are not successful. Youth are now spending most of their money on buying expensive clothes being worn by these celebrities so that they can also share the pictures on Instagram and attract attention (Sheldon and Bryant, 2016, p.89-97). Instead of these youths to save money and engage in other income generating activities, they are after buying expensive clothes, watches and shoes because of their obsession with lifestyles of celebrities. This is what is contributing to high dependency ratio in the current society where youth depend most on their parent instead of generating their own income.
Certainly, Instagram is one of social media platform that has more number of cyberbullying cases. Youth and kids have been bullied by their friend in different ways which make them lose their self-esteem and confidence about their bodies (Hosseinmardi, H., Mattson, S.A., Rafiq, R., Han, R., Lv, Q. and Mishra, S., 2015, p.481). A number of users also feels bad when nobody likes or comment on their photos which make the have doubt about themselves. The feeling is the same when some people give a negative comment on their photos. Some people claim that their colleagues like writing captions on insulting photos and end up tagging them. The feel embarrassed with this kind of action as some of the photos are normally targeted to them. Other people have decided to create fake account Instagram accounts that they use to upload bad and embarrassing photos of other people with aim of damaging their online reputation. Cyberbullying is a serious offense because it might cause depression and stress leading to suicidal thoughts among the affected victims.
Some business and celebrities but Instagram followers to boost a number of likes so that other can assume they have a greater influence on the market as well as in the society. Normally when a business has a high number of followers on Instagram, potential customers tend to perceive that it has great influence on the market due to quality its goods and services. Consumers end up purchasing from businesses that offered an average quality of goods and services because of the influence high number of Instagram followers businesses have. Moreover, these businesses visual enhancing features to make their product appealing when they are advertising on Instagram to attract customers. There are various cases where customers have both goods of low quality at a high cost because of these features. These effects that are applied to pictures of products portray the false quality of items violating business ethics. Business only cares about attracting customers by using appealing advertisement customer instead of offering goods of high quality. Customers are the ones who suffer from the deception of business by purchasing goods whose value does not match their prices (Sconyers, 2017, p.417). Conversely, some of the celebrities also buy Instagram followers so that firms can use their account in advertising their goods. The high number of Instagram also make people perceive them as individuals who have greater influence the society hence most of them trying to emulate them. Some celebrities are of bad character but since most of the youth interact with them on Instagram the do not question about their behavior and lifestyles behind the scenes. Youth have ended up emulate celebrities with bad influence because of most of the assumption that when celebrities have many followers and likes on Instagram this means they are liked and loved by many people.
Instagram is also used to propagate fake news. Evidently, social media platforms are convenient and accessible hence people depends on the information the derived from these social networking services. People have taken these advantages in propagating fake news that raises tension among Instagram use. Fake information can propagate through online rumor. Most of the time online rumor comes after a tragedy or an emergency has occurred. In this case, most people are usually eager to know how the tragedy occurred to determine people responsible and affected by the tragedy. Most of these tragic incidents are linked to floods, earthquakes, mass shooting and terror attacks. Because people understand the curiosity of the public is high after such incidents, they tend to come up with a story to quench the public’s curiosity since most people are likely to access the information and believe it. Photoshopped images are used by these individuals to emphasize their false rumors. Moreover, various individuals come with different information regarding the same tragedy which results in confusion among members of the public since they do not what to believe. This makes hard for the public to assist security forces with the investigation in case the incident occurred was a terror attack and mass shooting. Correspondingly, these rumors on Instagram raise false alarm leading to tension among the members of the public (Doshi, Raghavan, Weiss and Petitt, 2018, n.p). The unrest caused by false rumors put the safety and security of the public at risk because sometimes people may end up running towards the tragedy because of the confusion created by these rumors.
Undeniably, Instagram has its own benefits to the member of the society. It is most popular social media platform with over 10 million active users all over the world making it a cheap, easy and fast platform that individuals can use to share their experience (Ferwerda and Tkalcic, 2018, n.p). Through Instagram people can connect with friend beyond their countries’ border without necessarily traveling to those countries. It also allows people to exchange idea and share opinions which enhance the good relationship between them. Moreover, it is a quick where of passing information to a huge population and create awareness critical incidents happening on daily basis. People can share critical information about accidents, earthquakes, floods among other which may help people in the affected areas to take early precaution.
Business can benefit from Instagram in various ways. It allows business to advertise their products and services at no cost. Through Instagram, a firm can showcase its goods and service hence generating huge exposure considering the fact that Instagram has a large number of active users. Moreover, when a business promotes its product using Instagram there are high chances that it will reach its target market since Instagram is composed of users of different ages, tastes, preferences, lifestyles who come from different regions. Using Instagram in advertising gives a business a competitive advantage over its competitors since businesses that use Instagram marketing strategy are more likely to reach their target audience faster and easier compared to Twitter and Facebook (Stelzner, M., 2014, p.1-52). With features that enhance the quality of images in Instagram, business products become more appealing in the eyes of consumers thus promoting the brand and product of the business. Correspondingly, Instagram allows a firm to build its personality and trust with his clients. Since branded content tends to be prevalent in generating engagement it enables a business to build trust. Instagram helps a business to create an emotional connection with their consumers by sharing its daily experiences in a casual and informal manner giving a consumer a personal feeling towards the business. The benefits that Instagram offers to businesses enables them to widen their market which results in increased sales volume and profit margin.
In summary, Instagram has brought more negative impacts on the society than benefits. People now are depending on the comments and like the get from Instagram to build on their self-esteem and in most cases, they have ended up with disappointments. Most of Instagram users are after pleasing others rather than build own confidence that is why most of the pictures posted on Instagram do not replicate the actual lives of account owners. Businesses have used visual enhancing to deceives consumers about the quality of their product. Consequently, individuals should not base their life on what there are seeing on the social media platform. Besides, they should not try to compare their lives with of those they see on Instagram instead they should have confidence in their looks and lifestyle.
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Hawkins, C.M., 2017. Images of women: Exploring young females understanding of sexualised images in the media (Doctoral dissertation, Cardiff Metropolitan University).
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Al Nashmi, E., 2018. From Selfies to Media Events: How Instagram users interrupted their routines after the Charlie Hebdo shootings. Digital Journalism, 6(1), pp.98-117.
Doshi, A.R., Raghavan, S., Weiss, R. and Petitt, E., 2018. The Impact of the Supply of Fake News on Consumer Behavior During the 2016 US Election.
Hosseinmardi, H., Mattson, S.A., Rafiq, R., Han, R., Lv, Q. and Mishra, S., 2015, May. Poster: Detection of Cyberbullying in a Mobile Social Network: Systems Issues. In Proceedings of the 13th Annual International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (pp. 481-481). ACM.
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