Instagram Snobbery – Identity in Social Media

After meeting someone do you ever go online to see what their social media profiles say about the person? When did we become so judgemental about people purely based on the basic things they post on social media. Can we really learn about a person from what they post on instagram? We identify ourselves through what we post and what we are communicating to others about our lives. Below are some cool statistics about teenagers and their use of social media. The most important social network to teenagers appears to be Instagram. The way i look at instagram as it being the king of “fakery” or the most staged form of social media. Facebook is a place for communication, watching videos and posting lots of photos. Snapchat is the almost #nofilter zone where people care less about how much they post and what they’re doing, its like the “no-makeup” zone of social media. Twitter is not overly popular with young people, its mainly used to share useless thoughts, ranting, winging and stalking celebrities. Instagram however is King of snobbery, where people are so planned and purposeful about what they post. It’s almost strategic, whether it be posting at a time of day to get more likes, posting only well edited and aesthetic pictures, staging a fake “caught in the moment” shot, adding useless hashtags to get more likes. If there was a social media that could cause anxiety it would be Instagram. Instagram is also more popular with younger people because their parents don’t have it, parents somewhere in the last 5 years took over Facebook so teens turn to Instagram and Snapchat to hide away from the “oldies.”

The art of Instagram.

Humans are dependent on affirmation from others, the way we deem ourselves important or valued no longer comes from how many people we hang out with but how many likes and comments we get on our instagram. Below is a really sad truth video about how dependent we have become on sharing our entire life on social media and how it has consumed our lives and became the source of our identity.
Sunshine coasts Essena O’Neil has become a very influential voice behind the fact that social media isn’t actually real life. She has made a blog, edited all of her over thought, planned instagram photos as a almost expose on the world of a instagram celebrity. Heres an example of one of her edited Instagram captions. 
  • “EDIT REAL CAPTION: paid for this photo. If you find yourself looking at “Instagram girls” and wishing your life was there’s… Realise you only see what they want. If they tag a company 99% of the time it’s paid. Nothing is wrong with supporting brands you love (for example I proudly would promote Eco sheets or a vegan meal in exchange for money as its business for a purpose to me). BUT this ^^^ this has no purpose. No purpose in a forced smile, tiny clothes and being paid to look pretty. We are a generation told to consume and consume, with no thought of where it all comes from and where it all goes.”


She is the perfect example of how social media effects how we see ourselves, our individuality, how we express ourselves. At the end of the day we aren’t receiving any real physical likability or love its all come through the double tap of someones thumb.

6 thoughts on “Instagram Snobbery – Identity in Social Media”

  1. This is a really interesting topic! I think more and more people are starting to realise the negative effect social media has on our lives when it is used in fake or obsessive ways. The I Forgot My Phone video was really powerful. I think what makes it so good is that many of the scenarios in it are not exaggerated at all. It’s confronting to see but also a great insight into how our obsession with social media is causing us to miss important ‘real life’ moments.

    This is a nice doco, it gives insight into the effect of instagram ‘fame’ on a teenagers identity and presents reasons for why teenagers view that having the most followers/likes/views = success.


  2. Let me start by saying that I definitely agree with you. My personal experience with social media and particularly Instagram has made that possible. I go through phases where I think it’s complete and utter bullshit, and that it’s an incredibly damaging thing for those who buy into the narrative that people try to sell via their Instagrams. However, lately I’ve been attempting to be a little less cynical of it all. I think it might be really good for you and your research to have a look at the other side of the argument. Think about the way it might not really be ultimately that damaging – especially as we’re all getting accustomed to the fact that Instagram posts are highly controlled and filtered. Most people will admit their lives aren’t what their Instagram makes it out to be. You could also have a look at the ways in which it can have a positive effect on our construction of identity and perception? Perhaps someone does get a little validation from a ‘successful’ selfie, so what? Is that really so bad? As long as their entire self-worth doesn’t hinge on the amount of likes they get, I’m sure it’s perfectly fine in small doses.


  3. There is so much to unpack in the debate on ‘fakery’ vs. real life when we swim through life in social media. I think it would be an idea to look into how younger generations literally depend on ratings and like counts to maintain their self esteem and social hierarchy.
    Have a shitty day > post pretty selfie > get 100+ likes > feel better. It’s pretty shallow.
    There’s this book in the library that talks about identity, ego and the psychology of ourselves in a mediated world – would definitely be worth a read for you.
    Mentioning Essa O’neill also, another interesting tangent would be looking at just how much companies pay ‘insta-famous’ individuals and the impact they have on their many, many followers.


  4. I think you oversimplify both Facebook and Twitter. I disagree with the primary uses of Twitter to “share useless thoughts, ranting, winging and stalking celebrities.” Its a major public sphere to discuss politics, events, as well as getting live updates, a highly useful open social media platform. Facebook is also more then just “place for communication, watching videos and posting lots of photos.” Its a place for business to promote itself. Its also great for communities, groups and networks to be even more connected.

    O’Neil, brought a lot of media attention toward the realities of people choosing to pose as fake, or selectively-showing parts of their lives to generate this imagined impression of what they want us to see. Its an interesting question of how “did we become so judgemental about people purely based on the basic things they post on social media?” yet at the same time it seems that human nature is to be judgemental and this has just followed us into this digital realm.


  5. Couldn’t agree with more your statement about ‘Instagram not being real life’. I strongly believe that Instagram is capturing nothing more than a staged moment. Whilst the events in the picture may be real, chances are the photographer took more than one photo to try and capture the perfect shot. Instagram’s use of filters, is evidence that majority of photos that are uploaded to the platform are used to create a “perfect” image, of our lives, holiday or relationship.

    I think however, that you have undermined the power of Twitter. Twitter has given a voice to the voiceless as in shown in movements such as the Arab Spring or the Baltimore Riots, both of which were brought to the awareness of the public through Twitter.

    This link, is a blog where the writer, talks what she uploaded to Instagram versus what was actually happening in real life. Something that is probably relevant to most photos that get uploaded to Instagram.


  6. “Our identity is partly shaped by recognition … often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.” Charles Taylor

    This ties into the gratification we feel when someone likes a photo of us or a link we shared on Facebook or Instagram. As much as we don’t like to admit our online presence and the feedback we receive from it bothers us, it’s hard to deny – you may not “care”, but what would you honestly, honestly rather see when you’ve uploaded a photo to Facebook – one like or ninety-two likes…? I think all know our answer.

    There’s no denying social media can be damaging to self-esteem, but I feel like there’s cases where it can be useful to a degree, and the benefits of social media go beyond beyond image – business, individual power, networking etc. It’s a bit of a sweeping statement to claim that Twitter is “share useless thoughts, ranting, winging and stalking celebrities.”… I’m assuming you have by now but if not be sure to check out the Arab Spring. Our online presence is a curated version of ourselves, which I feel like as long as we recognise that of each other, then there doesn’t have to be an issue with our consistent usage of social media.


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