For many people social media is a part of their daily lives and over the last decade it has become more and more popular. Social media shows itself in many different forms: Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram; just to name a few. It has been argued time and time again that these social media sites are completely harmless to the next generation, however, others see this as a lie and believe social media to be a harmful virus, especially in the wrong hands.
With the debate continuing, it remains unclear whether or not this rapidly developing technology is completely safe for everyone, especially the younger generation. Recently, Instagram has quietly been picking up traction mostly thanks to everybody's new obsession with photography, but what is it and how is it different from other sites?
It's like a simplified version of Facebook, where you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging and private messaging. You can even save the photos you see on Instagram. First established on the 6th of October 2010, Instagram has developed into the popular social media site it is today with 15 times more users than Facebook and 20 times more users than Twitter. For many years Instagram limited their users to square-border photos only. This restriction was a bit of a pest but was mainly seen as an Instagram signature. In the Spring of 2015 (Northern Hemisphere), the debate of square-borders verses rectangle-borders begun. August 2015, the change was made, and Instagram users adapted very well, as they produce higher quality imagery. Today, you can post both directly through the app and from existing photos/videos on your device. You can also post both photos and videos up to one full minute in length, with filter options plus the ability to tweak and edit your photos. Like many of its kind, Instagram is an ever-growing social network making an ever-lasting impact on society and the world.
What is the appeal of photos over the use of words? The old saying rings true ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. Unlike text or links that have to be read or investigated first, pictures provoke an immediate reaction. The viewer gets more satisfaction and emotion from a visual than they do from words. This is also a successful platform for businesses with over 2 million businesses using Instagram to flaunt their products. But, the negative side of the argument is also powerful with a recent study of almost 1,500 teens and young adults, stating that Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health. While the social media platform was recognised for self-expression and identity, it was also associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and the “fear of missing out.”
So the debate of social media and its effects still remain, but when in doubt – take the picture! The worst that can happen is a phone full of memories.