The inconvenient truth about Instagram
None of the popular social networking sites deserve to be called a “vanity fair” like Instagram. It is quite a specific place that is constantly attacked for its negative impact on society and destructive effect on the minds of younger generations. Marketing and promotional activities on Instagram are also quite often subject to the risk of various types of scams, attempts to artificially raise the results of engagement. Despite the fact that Instagram is harmful, it still attracts the attention of marketers and grows very dynamically.
The results of the #StatusofMind study, which included young people (16-24 years old), are very interesting. They compare the positive and negative aspects of using social media websites. As it turns out, the negative aspects definitely outweigh the positive ones in the case of Instagram:
Anxiety, depression, FoMo, pressure about appearance, and even the resulting sleep problems – these are some of the most destructive aspects of using Instagram. In the long run, all this also translates into low self-esteem, which inhibits the desire to develop, kills invention and initiative in young people.
What other disadvantages do I see when it comes to Instagram?
Showing unreal life, that is the harmfulness of Instagram
On Instagram, most of us don’t show our life as it is. We choose the best, most interesting section of it, which we report on Instagram Stories or add filters and put it on our profile as a photo. We focus too much on one percent of our friends’ lives by viewing the feed on Instagram. We waste time on this instead of 99 percent of our boring and monotonous life. We close ourselves in an illusion, a bubble that makes us different from the real world. We run away from it, and we should embellish it, improve it. Do you spend 30 minutes on Instagram every day? Now replace these 30 minutes with learning a foreign language, physical exercises or a good book. That is close to 180 hours (a week!) A year when you are feeding on content that adds nothing to your life. Well, maybe apart from stress and mental discomfort, because you want your whole life to look like the one Instagram percentage of your friends.
In addition, Instagram builds in us an illusory feeling that everyone has a perfect body – slim, athletic, well cared for. Many young people begin to think of themselves as outcasts in the ideal world of models and models. Over time, they forget that these ideal people are only a few percent of the society they live in, not the majority. The #StatusofMind study mentioned above shows that 9 out of 10 young girls are not satisfied with their bodies and how they look.
Where does it end? The fact that instead of developing the best in themselves, their passions or skills, teenagers stop accepting themselves as they are and strive for Instagram ideals. And in their adult life, they are unlikely to be of any use to them. This is the greatest harmfulness of Instagram, which should be constantly reminded of.
It’s easier for pretty people on Instagram
We are on Instagram to feed our sense of aesthetics. We are here to feel appreciated by the number of followers and hearts under #selfie. If we are pretty, we have more than the average boy or girl who can be objectively assessed 6/10. Those who have 8/10 and more are more likely to be fed by others, their numbers grow much faster. In many cases, this results in a brand backlash and money. Money that you don’t get for your skills and knowledge, but for being a pretty person. Probably many of you will say that being at least 8/10 requires going to the gym, taking care of yourself, etc. But honestly – is it that difficult? Does it require special skills? At most, being a pretty person with a lot of likes shows that you have good genes and that you are not a lazy who prefers Netflix to the gym.
Bot after bot and bot bot is rushing
Already like ours nature that we are looking for shortcuts. The truth is brutal – a professional Instagram account with engaging content is a full-time job, i.e. 40 hours a week. Especially now that you need to take care of not only posts but stories as well. In the minds of many young people, the website is a simple way to become famous and earn money in the long run. In addition, the “generation Z” more than others equates its success in the offline world with its online popularity (source: Center for Generational Kinetics).
To speed up this process (shortcuts) we use account automation. It consists in adding hundreds of comments and observing thousands of people in the hope that they will reciprocate it in accordance with the “follow 4 follow” rule. Companies offering such “services” for really little money began to appear like mushrooms after the rain. The line between a human and a bot on Instagram has been lost somewhere. Of course, the website constantly identifies and removes accounts that are not playing fair. There are also penalties for companies. However, even during the Instagram training (!!!) in Poland, pseudo-specialists encourage the use of account automation. Ba! They claim that there is currently no other way to gain followers. I say it is, it only requires dedication and creativity.
Social trends media 2020
Content that is worthless
This may seem quite controversial to you. However, if you think carefully and look at Instagram content with a certain distance, you will find that 99.9 percent of it does not add anything to your life. A random collection of sometimes nice, but not always, photos. You spend 1-2 seconds on each of them, leave a like and go to the next nice photo. You leave a trace of yourself in the form of a “heart” or a comment under something that is visually aesthetic. It does not bring knowledge, does not educate, and does not force you to think. Such a mush that is easy to digest in large amounts.
You don’t believe me? Then try to remember what photos you liked on Instagram yesterday, and then check in the activity log 😉
I am concerned that brand money flows as a reward to the creators of such worthless content. Someone nicely arranges plates, flowers and other things from shops like “Everything for PLN 2” on the table and offers cooperation. Brands want their product to appear among the next nice collage of unnecessary things. Another nice view or photo from the drone would be good if it was taken with a camera of a specific brand. Often times, ranges matter more than the quality of the content. It is enough if the photos are aesthetic.
Unfortunately, as marketers, we drive this machine even more. We provide more and more easily digestible pulp that is to please the consumer’s eye. However, the dispersion of responsibility is too great and the money is too great. Therefore, probably no brand will take responsibility for the fact that it operates on a website that worsens the lives of its users. Of course, in his professional work he prepares concepts and strategies of activities for this platform. I can only promise that I will try to make the content carry something more than just aesthetics.
Instagram has become a place of escape to a nice and more aesthetic world. It distracts our attention for a few minutes each day from the dirty street on our way to work, from a mess in the apartment or from a quick lunch. There will probably be people who will accuse me of being guilty to myself if I am watching such and not other accounts. But it’s not just about me or you. It is about over a billion Instagram users in the world and over 8 million Polish users. Because it is for them that the website has become the second, next to Netflix, digital drug that turns off thinking and teaches passivity.
Do you have a different opinion? I’d love to hear your opinion if you leave it in the comment 🙂