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Tags: instagram | mobile | social media | addiction

Instagram's Success Is the Perfect Representation of Our Times

Instagram's Success Is the Perfect Representation of Our Times

By    |   Monday, 02 July 2018 03:29 PM EDT

I recently became active on Instagram, a social media sharing service focusing primarily on photos and videos that just recently hit over 1 billion monthly active users. Founded in 2010 and acquired by Facebook in 2012, Bloomberg recently posited that it could have a market valuation of over $100 billion if it were a stand-alone company.

In my explorations of Instagram so far, I quickly came to understand why it has seen such massive growth and is expected to continue to do so. Its focus on brief impressions, looks, and quick entertainment extracts the most addictive aspects of social networking and internet services and distills it into a single app.

Even other services such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook itself add a much more thoughtful element in the form of discussion, explanation, longer documents, and interactive products. Yet Instagram cuts all of that out and embraces a simple yet effective mix of pictures, videos, likes, follows, and comments.

Although precise current statistics are hard to come by, every day on Instagram at least several billions of posts are “liked” and hundreds of millions of photos and videos are shared.

However all of this does not come without cost. Although Instagram, like other social media services, is free to use, it also has been shown by studies to have the most deleterious impact on its users’ mental health.

Because of its focus on the most glamorous and material-driven aspects of our lives, Instagram has been shown to increase feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and “fear of missing out” in comparison to other social media networks.

Ironically, the more one uses Instagram it appears the more impactful are the effects.

Nonetheless, this is not a strike against Instagram as otherwise I myself would not have begun using the app lately. Like many other internet services, as I recently discussed in a prior column at Newsmax, it comes with both costs and benefits.

On the positive side, Instagram allows users to post their most enlivening moments for the world to see, whether it be their circle of friends or the broader world through Instagram’s hashtags and other search functions.

Instagram also has given celebrities, companies, and other public figures and brands a platform to create quickly digestible and interesting content for users in ways that other platforms may allow too but do not emphasize as much. Indeed that’s part of why Instagram brought in over $3.64 billion in mobile advertising revenue in 2017 and is expected to bring in $6.84 billion in 2018.

Yet Instagram’s negative externalities should also make us reflect on how we can adapt all of these new and constantly developing technologies to our lives. As we see with how policymakers, companies, and the general public has been reacting to a variety of disruptive technologies over the past few years, these technologies emerge but how we react varies greatly and is left up to us.

With Instagram, as with many other products and services in life, moderation and perspective are a fundamental part of getting the right risk-reward from it. As our economy continues to see new products rolling out in upcoming years, ranging from self-driving cars to virtual reality, we will undoubtedly face just as pressing challenges in how we adapt these new circumstances to our lifestyles.

I very much look forward to getting active on Instagram and joining this platform that it seems so much of the world is currently active on. Nonetheless, as a late-joiner, I do so also with an attempt at remaining starkly aware of the risks involved too.

In our flashy, glamorous, and image-driven surface-level world nowadays, perhaps that is an approach that could be beneficial in how we embrace these products and services, even if undoubtedly it will face challenges, bumps, and difficulties along the way.

In the meantime, feel free to give me a follow on Instagram:

Erich Reimer is a D.C.-based government affairs strategist, entrepreneur, financial commentator, and national columnist with a varied and extensive background in federal government financial regulation, state government economic development, business (technology and finance), policy, politics, law, and media. He appears frequently on cable television news to offer insights on policy, business, legal, and political matters. A former Democratic Party national youth leader turned Republican, he focuses on pragmatic and patriotic governance solutions to our nation’s most pressing challenges. He holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a Bachelor's from the University of Pennsylvania. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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I recently became active on Instagram, a social media sharing service focusing primarily on photos and videos that just recently hit over 1 billion monthly active users.
instagram, mobile, social media, addiction
Monday, 02 July 2018 03:29 PM
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