October 6, 2010, was a momentous day in the tech world. The birth of this digital portfolio created an everlasting song and dance between social media and photography. Since its creation, Instagram’s main goal is to “capture and share the world’s moments” (Instagram, 2010), and surely, it did just that.  

From 25,000 users to 2.35 billion current users, Instagram has grown to be one of the most popular social media apps to date. Simply taking a picture, capturing a video, and sharing it with friends has grown within itself on this app. Features like filters and reels provide the consumers with all that they need to not just display a perfect picture, but their perfect selves. 

In addition to its seemingly never-ending features, Instagram allows its users to connect with people from all over the world. Direct Messaging, commenting, and simply using the reshare button grants users the ability to communicate with their friends, families, and even strangers. This mass communication model also serves as a public form, providing users the outlet to express themselves, through captions, comments, videos, and even likes.

All around, Instagram has grown tremendously in not just becoming an app for daily consumption, but an app that is also a resourceful tool. It’s an escape into a digital world, where you can become whoever you want to be at the touch of a button. Beyond being a source of entertainment, it has a profound impact on society’s perception of identity, communication, and creativity that endures everlasting relevance in our interconnected world. 

Instagram is an immense app with so many intricacies hidden within it. Regardless of the positive or negative outcomes, the app can attract and retain consumers with a multitude of intricate factors. Keep reading for an analysis of the usage of Instagram that continues its widespread adoption.

Instagram as a Digital Portfolio

Although a social media app, Instagram serves as a digital portfolio app that provides users the opportunity to showcase their talents, interests, and ideas through a visually captivating platform. From models to musicians, individuals from all walks of life are granted the probability of success that wasn’t so possible two decades ago. The use of Instagram also serves as a replacement for traditional business cards. Instagram provides its creatives the opportunity to connect and attract more clients (Cesarato 2020). With its unparalleled ability to generate high engagement, Instagram has proven itself to be an invaluable marketing tool for brands and businesses across all industries. The impact of this constantly evolving platform serves and continues to shape the landscape of branding and promotion while providing its users endless growth opportunities.  

Instagram is a transformative digital portfolio and marketing tool that is a dynamic space to showcase products, talents, and unique stories on a global platform. When you first create your Instagram account, you are given a choice of being a personal or a business account. Once you have selected a business, you are eligible to connect your Instagram to your Facebook and choose what sector your business falls in. These categories consist of health and beauty, gaming, and more. The goal of selecting the right category provides your business additional exposure to that specific industry. The business account option also provides analytics that helps you keep track of your growth. You can view impressions, traffic, and even specific details of your audience including age, gender, and other general traits.

With these profound tools at your disposal, your business can strategically optimize your Instagram presence while fostering and creating meaningful interaction with your cultivating audience. By curating visually compelling content that showcases the value of your brand alongside its identity, you can ultimately bolster an exponential reach and impact.

The Power of Instagram

Instagram’s wide array of tools like filters, editing tools, and Reels empowers consumers to transmogrify themselves into digital directors, content creators, or even becoming living works of art. The app serves as a creative playground where individuals can freely express themselves and manifest their deepest desires in a digital reality. With an abundant amount of editing tools and filters, users can instantly transform their photographs and videos into compelling masterpieces. Instagram also is an outlook where aspiring filmmakers and storytellers can produce short films through a feature called Reels. Through Reels, creatives can explore and express their cinematic vision with their imaginative narratives. In addition, the app also allows regular individuals to become content creators from just simply posting their everyday lives. Individuals are provided the opportunity to construct a personal brand that reflects their passions, skills, and values that resonates with their loyal audiences. These accessible tools allow users to weave a tapestry of diverse talents that redefine the meaning and boundaries of self-expression and identity. 

Though Instagram provides its users the outlet to be whatever they want, the lack of discretion promotes a false perception of reality… a perfect reality. Once regarded as recreational tools, filters, and editors have now found themselves repurposed in the curation of one’s idealized digital persona, also known as their “perfect selves.” A term coined by social psychologist Will Storr, the perfect self is defined as “a self that is super fit, wears trendy clothes, and eats only at photogenic brunches” (Schullery 2023). This pursuit consists of constant optimization and compromisation of our appearance and truly natural selves. Eventually, overusing these tools would cause internal weariness and impairment in the perception of ourselves. We are currently in an era where authenticity and acceptance are paramount. And because of this, it is crucial to maintain a balance between the use of social media and the preservation of genuine identity. The result of this would then forge a path toward a more inclusive and authentic digital realm. 

To safeguard against overconsumption of social media, consumers can obtain a mindful and discerning approach to Instagram that fosters a healthy relationship with the app and themselves. To start, users can limit their exposure to heavily filtered and altered content by following and seeking out diverse perspectives from authentic creators. A research study conducted in 2021 by Pew Research Center found that 72% of Instagram users aged 18 to 29 expressed feeling pressure to present themselves in a way to garner more likes, comments, and followers. To counter this, users should take breaks from constant scrolling and garner their time for more meaningful, self-reflective activities. The second thing users could do is experiment with fewer filters and edited content. The less you use them and push out more authentic content, you’ll start to naturally embrace your natural appearance. A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that among young social media users, there is a positive correlation between less photo editing and body satisfaction. In simpler terms, the fewer people edit their pictures, the more content they are with their physical appearance. Although technology is our future, it is essential to form a boundary between our usage and our mental health. Prioritizing our mental well-being can perceive self-perception and identity.

Sweet Escape

Instagram offers a digital escape that provides its users a sanctuary to detach from the real world. Users then immerse themselves into a digitally curated world filled with an endless amount of creativity and expression. Users are also provided a generated feed that is curated based on their likes and interests. This immersive experience not only grants users the ability to enjoy the content of others but also encourages them to build and share their own unique experiences with the world. Instagram’s virtual escape, with its seemingly endless amount of possibilities, serves as an outlet for self-discovery and unfettered imagination. 

The allure of Instagram’s virtual reality is undeniably captivating, making it very easy for users to get lost in this fantasy world… momentarily forgetting about the responsibilities of everyday life. Whether for personal or business reasons, Instagram offers a countless amount of opportunities and tools to not just grow, but enjoy the app. However, managing your time on this platform as well as assessing boundaries is an essential part of the experience. While Instagram can be a valuable tool, constant use can lead to an imbalanced perception of reality and fantasy. Instagram should be perceived as a supplement to but not a substitute for the curation of genuine content and relationships done in our everyday lives. By acknowledging both the virtual world and creating healthy boundaries, users can fully enjoy the app, harnessing Instagram's potential without losing sight of richness and authenticity. 

The Future of Instagram 

Despite Instagram's undeniable success as one of the most used apps of our decade, its future utility for consumers remains uncertain. The first possible reason is its over-saturation of content. As the platform grew, so did the volume of content shared by users. Individuals may have found it a little difficult to navigate through an overwhelming amount of content that may seemingly be the same. Although the algorithm provides its users the ability to view content based on their interests, sometimes that content can be the same consistently. This ushers in a call for change within Instagram's algorithm system, as well as the content creator. The next possibility is privacy concerns. Social media is a platform used to share our everyday lives with the public. With more sharing comes more privacy of what we the consumers want hidden. To retain their audiences, Instagram should consider the ever-growing concerns about data privacy and online security. Lastly, the next possibility is the rising competition between other digital platforms. Since the start of TikTok, many Instagram users have been spending more time engaging with that app. Later on, Instagram seemingly mimicked TikTok’s model but instituted the Reels section in their platform. This model did usher in back their consumers to the app but was only used to share content from one platform to another. To combat this, Instagram should consider enhancing its auditory library, embracing short films and content, and also capitalizing on its existing user base. 

As the digital world evolves, Instagram has a dynamic and promising future. Continuous innovation, user-centered adaptations, and commitment to their initial mission statements would help them to grow and retain a loyal audience. BlueTickSocial can help you and your brand grow and maintain an audience as well. We strategically advise and curate content that we know would help boost your business based on your analytical records. Get started and book your consultation with us so that we may better understand your brand and help you to grow on Instagram and beyond.


Social Media Use in 2021 

About Instagram

How and Why You Should Integrate Instagram in Your Digital Portfolio: Blog

International Journal of Eating Disorders 

Summary of Selfie by Will Storr

Photo by dlxmedia.hu: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-a-person-holding-cellphone-11911058/