To most people, Instagram is more than just an SNS (social networking service). What are the things we show through Instagram? How does it feel to see them? What is the problem with it? ㆍㆍEd
Instagram is an image-sharing site that was launched under the slogan of capturing and sharing moments to the world. It is a compound word formed from the terms “instant camera” and “telegram.” Instagram has three special features to capture and share moments instantly. First is “hashtag.” Users write “hashtag” with geographical names, their mood, or anything they want. It makes other users find photos and people traveling to the same place, allowing them to communicate with user who wrote hashtag. Second is “stories.” They are automatically deleted after 24 hours, unlike a regular post, which is permanently indelible unless the author deletes it. The appeal of stories is time, giving users opportunities to create stories more comfortably without any worries. Furthermore, unlike in regular posts, users can confirm who has read or seen the stories, and can personally send a comment to the stories through a direct message(DM).
Perhaps because of this interesting feature, Instagram has become a major influence on people, with more than 1 billion users worldwide, and 90 percent of the world’s top 100 brands have Instagram accounts.
Instagram is no longer just an SNS for sharing one’s daily life. It became a method of defining people and expressing themselves. Maybe that’s why some people are sensitive to the number of hearts their posts have and the number of followers they have, using them as a means to express themselves as better people.
However, terms like inferiority complex and relative deprivation began to be associated with Instagram and, eventually, the term “Instagram depression” emerged. Most users’ daily lives look colorful, perfect, successful, and happy, but people in real life do not always feel glamorous. Rather, they feel incomplete and unsuccessful, looking less happy.
Well, I didn’t compare myself with other people usually, but as I was exposed to Instagram often, I started making comparisons, which is usually about envy or self-destruction. It makes me sad, and I want to stop doing it but it is not easy.
Kim Chan-ju (Living Design, 18, Kaywon University of Art and Design)
When I was on vacation, I was busy at home checking out Instagram. There were many people who were traveling other countries and people who were achieving great feats. I was sad because I thought it was just me who just remained in one place.
Min Ji-yoon (Chemical Engineering, 17, Hongik University)
Not only users who see happy posts on Instagram, but also those who post happy moments are suffering. They shape reality by trying to contain their perfect lives and situations within a square frame, and they also feel depressed to see the gap between whom they are on Instagram and whom they are in reality.
As Instagram becomes a space for self-examination rather than direction of communication, it seems that there is a phenomenon that keeps comparing oneself with others. When I see a post of my friend traveling, I often feel jealous and, not to be outdone, I post similar pictures on my Instagram account. Such situations make me feel weird and sad. These days, I am trying to minimize using SNS for my real life.
Ryu Hee-sun (A Korean student in England)
I have had a hard time traveling in discord with a friend. However, I heard that I look so happy still. Only then did I notice that I only uploaded photos where I looked happy on Instagram. I couldn’t help feeling the distance between my life on Instagram and my real life.
Cha Hea-ry (Bioscience and Informatics, 18, Myongji University)
Instagram has begun a test-run of functions that do not show “heart” numbers to some users. The introduction of hidden functions like this also lets people realize that Instagram is having a significant impact on users. Instagram makes it easier for people to express themselves and recognize others’ existence. Yet, this made it easier to compare each other’s lives, and it makes people more prone to depression sometimes.
Have you ever been unable to appreciate the scenery properly, wasting your time taking pictures to be posted later on Instagram, which is full of wonderful landscapes? Have you ever found the disparity between the daily routine that you posted on Instagram and your actual daily routine? We need to ponder whether it is ruining each other’s daily lives, what these people will get from Instagram.
Jeon Seo-yeon (ST-Cub Reporter)