The original image is the infamous poster of the social media giant Instagram. While being one of the most dominant social media apps in the world, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users. Out of the 1 billion, 71% of users are under the age of 35. Also, it is the second most engaged social media network after Facebook, allowing people to connect with each other from all over the planet. Friends and families are able to share a common platform to engage in social communication, whereas in the past this was not possible.
There are evident benefits of the photo-based social media platform, where users can improve their internal scores for self-identity, self-expression, community building, and emotional support. Furthermore, there is an abundant amount of free knowledge as well, as many accounts are created to provide information to the Instagram community; this allows for business opportunities and advertisement. Therefore, it is one of the most effective tools used for marketing and leveraging your business.
However, there is a critical issue with Instagram and many other social media platforms. Despite the benefits that it brings, Instagram is also one of the most detrimental applications, as it affects the mental health of many individuals. The majority of users are either Millennials or younger, who are attracted to fake realities and are obsessed with comparing themselves with others. At the same time, others create these fake realities, where it may seem that they are so amazingly happy in their lives, being successful and attempting to show this off to the world around them, where in reality this may not be the case. Our obsessive behaviours of checking our Instagram feed is a definite issue in society, and this actually will be detrimental in the sense that people will compare themselves to others and decrease their self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence.
The second image is the jammed version of the Instagram poster. The text was changed from Instagram to “Instareassurance”, which exposes and addresses an evident issue of not just Instagram, but also other social media applications as well. Daily users are heavily influenced by the lives of other people, constantly scrolling through posts of their friends, families, and strangers that seem to exhibit the perfect, happy life, where there are no problems whatsoever. Users compare themselves to others, and in doing so they may also create their own posts, showing that they are also living a happy life, creating a fake reality. This provides feelings of reassurance, where they are constantly creating fake realities to reassure themselves in an unhealthy way.
The red icons in red are actual in-app symbols to indicate if someone has liked/left a comment on your post, or started following you. This also provides reassurance to the user because he/she will think that receiving all these likes and follows on Instagram will increase their confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth from all of the recognition. However, this may actually be detrimental to the user’s mental health because finding reassurance through superficial means I believe is not the best way to increase one’s self-worth and confidence. This will only set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy, manifesting depression and anxiety; therefore decreasing self-worth and confidence. What everyone should start considering is working to improve their mental health, addressing the root cause of their problems, instead of masking it away through reassurance from social media.