Instagram, a free, quirky and fun application used 300 million people everyday to share their lives through a series of pictures. Like any social media platform there are generally users that generate greater audiences than others. Have you ever thought about what sets certain Instagram users apart from the rest? What exactly is our attraction to these individuals? It is not always the way the individual looks so is it that they wear nice clothes, travel often, eat aesthetically pleasing food, fitness fanatics, animals or art? What attracts us to certain people in the sense of do we like their content because we genuinely like the post or do we like because we want to keep that follower?
What would you do to become Instagram famous?
We like being liked and feeding our own egos through social media and the attention we gain from a single upload. Social media through its evolution has changed the way in which we portray ourselves to the rest of the world. There is an obsession with making our lives seem somewhat perfect. We are living in a world where proving to everyone you’re having a good time takes away from actually having a good time itself. Within every camera roll is multiple images of the same pose slightly altered in order to Instagram the most flawless of them all, the one that will gain the most likes and attention. The thought of uploading a photo that is less than perfect is now deemed unimaginable, every photo uploaded to Instagram now is taken with precision, the best angle and lighting.
(An example of my own Instagram where I have been found guilty of having 24 versions of the same photo)
It appears that now we determine our social status by Instagram likes. Everyday the internet gets bigger and social media does not sleep as its absolutely everywhere we look and routine in our every day lives .
With aims of investigating what individuals do to their photographs and profiles in order to be considered significant or famous I wanted to discover what it is these individuals post, how often, what they do to the image before posting, how they feel about likes and followers and why. In order to do so I have interviewed University Of Wollongong students whom have status within the Instagram world in order to discover how and why we now obsesses over the portrayal of our lives in order to receive “likes” and attention.
UOWS “Instagram Elite”
“I Instagram daily. Whenever I have free time on my phone I browse through my feed its practically routine. I gram photos of myself at places/events. I never post photos of scenery or food without myself being present in the photo. Its all about me haha! Very rarely do I post photos with friends. I take photos on my iPhone6 and its embarrassing but I have a “peak” time of uploading which is between 7 & 9 where I generate the most likes. My photos are there to express what I get up to because I like getting dressed up and taking good photos. No specific meanings at all. I always like to maintain a positive ratio so that I have more follower than what I am following because my goal is to have thousands of followers because its just a good feeling.”
“I use Instagram everyday. My photos mostly consist of photos of special events or nights out so they are all taken on my iPhone. I feel as though Instagram has a “prime time” and that is at night time because there are more users online so that’s when I get the most likes and new followers each time I upload. My Instagram does have a theme being that it is just photos of me and my friends therefore no food or sights etc. and I use filters in order to enhance the photos. I don’t have a goal exactly I already have over a thousand followers but id be lying if I said I wouldn’t like more.”
“Everyday. I love Instagram I use it for different purposes to see what my friends are up to or find places to shop and eat. My Instagram consists of a lot of selfies so they are taken on my iPhone but I have photos of me working (dancing and modelling) that are obviously taken on professional cameras. The best time to upload a photo on Instagram is between 7-7:30 at night any night and that’s when I get the most likes and generally more followers at the same time. My instagram theme is mostly selfies and photos of me at work at cool events for example dancing at Splendour In The Grass for a band or being in Samantha Jades film clip so I have pictures on set but I use filters to enhance them for e.g. to make myself look more tanned. My goal is to reach 10k I want to have the “10k” displayed on my Instagram and I’m really close so its exciting. “
“ I use Instagram everyday and I upload photos everyday also. My photos are all of myself my Instagram does not have photos of anyone else on there a part from an event I attended last week. I upload my photos at all different times regardless of when people think “peak” is because my followers will scroll down and find my photo anyway and whenever I upload a photo I gain more followers. My Instagram has a theme in that there is not really anything going on in the background of my photos they are mostly taken in my house or in my yard, which is mostly white. However, some have been taking professionally by a photographer but they have still been in the comfort of my own home. I use filters to enhance my skin colour or the contrast of the background to make the photo look better. My goal is to just keep gaining followers but I have 10.1 at the moment anyway which is a lot considering I’m from Wollongong.”
After conducting interviews amongst students of UOW and comparing their responses to both my own Instagram experience and compiled research a set of rituals as I would like to call them rather than results are as follows.
Rituals of UOWs Instagram Elite…
Remain Active – You can’t expect people to follow you if you never post any photos, so it’s important to be really active on Instagram and to stay in tune with current trends. However, you shouldn’t post pictures just for the sake of posting pictures.
Like & Comment on others photos – Not only should you start liking people’s pictures, you should also start commenting on them. This provides more of a personal touch, and people will be flattered and are then more incline to follow back.
Post at the right time of day – You might the most interesting or beautiful photos – However if you do not post it at the right time of day you will limit the number of likes you get and this can significantly reduce ones chances of gaining new followers.
Theme – Consider choosing a theme for your account. The accounts which tend to get the most followers are generally those which stick with a particular theme. This is because the people who follow your account know that they are guaranteed to see pictures of things they are genuinely interested in, rather than a bunch of weird or random pictures.
Using relevant tags & Branding – Tagging your photos means including the location where the picture was taken in the post. Instagram can do this automatically when you enable GPS.
Ultimately – Keep it simple.
Sometimes our insecurities are subtler and we don’t realise that now our hearts beat a little bit faster after checking our un-liked photos after 1 minute or seeing our number of followers decrease. We begin to feel a sudden rush of anxiety and question whether or not it was the right time to upload, best filter for the image, clever use of hash tags. These questions are now followed by deleting the image of where we are in that moment within the world which was ultimately what the application was created for yet now choose carefully and wisely about what we when and what we upload ultimately to strive for internet fame which we confuse with real world significance.