Instagram and other Social Media Applications: A Comparison

 

Dr. Gladson Clifford Joe. C1*, Mr. Jesly Anto. J2

1Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Faculty of Science and Humanities, SRM University, SRM Nagar, Kattankulathur, Kanchipuram – 603203

2Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Faculty of Science and Humanities, SRM University, SRM Nagar, Kattankulathur, Kanchipuram – 603203

*Corresponding Author Email: gladson.c@ktr.srmuniv.ac.in

 

ABSTRACT:

Social media has etched for itself a new chapter in the lives of people living in this century. The explosion in the field of information and technology has shrunk the whole universe within the palms of today’s generation. The mushrooming of various social media platforms across the World Wide Web has brought a sea change in how people communicate with each other. Social media has become a common platform for the people around the world to share and exchange their beliefs, culture, traditions, knowledge, views, etc. The various studies that have been conducted by different social and psychological groups have put forth striking similarities as to how social media has impacted men and women of the present times. This study brings out the positive and negative aspects of social media applications. The usage of Instagram as a social networking application is dealt with in detail. The comparison of Instagram alongside the various social media is brought about in a lucid manner.

 

KEYWORDS: Social Media, Instagram, Applications, Culture, Communication.

 

 


INTRODUCTION:

The dawn of the 21st century has brought with it changes and improvements in the development of social media and social media platforms. The convergence of media has expanded the usage of internet that gave birth to social media. Companies are spending millions of dollars to harness the social media markets. Online social media and social networking platforms like Facebook, Myspace, WhatsApp, Twitter and others are vying with each other to dominate and influence the different user based markets around various countries. These social media conglomerates have affected the social life and activity of people in numerous ways.

 

Social media platforms have millions and sometimes even billions of registered users. It helps them to stay in touch with their friends or relatives across the globe as long as they are connected to the internet. The expansion in information technology is so evident and it has affected all walks of life.

 

The explosion of smartphone usage has played a vital role in the active use of social media in keeping people informed about their friends and relatives. The usage of social media platforms by the population in the 18-25 years bracket is the highest1. These social media platforms are very popular in English speaking countries around the globe. There are also domestically created social media platforms in their native languages as in Japan that is very popular among its own population. Around the world these social networking platforms have generated billions of dollars in revenue to their parent companies and the expansion in business is mind boggling. The availability of advertising in these sites helps in diversification of business and also promotion of small and big business enterprises. Advertisements are carried out in the form of banner ads, referral marketing and games.

 

The economic impact that these social networking sites have on a country is expanding day by day. It has also added thousands of jobs to the economy of a country. Other businesses that use these platforms are benefited directly through the usage of these media platforms which help in reaching homes of millions of potential customers. Its social impact has also changed the way in which people communicate. It has allowed people to exchange ideas and stay abreast with latest developments. It brings together people with common interests through their private and closed groups and pages.

 

International media have given extended coverage on the marketing supremacy of these social networking platforms. Mobile phone manufacturers and telephone companies have largely benefited through these social media websites and applications. These platforms have provided for the development of communication, gaming, feedback, review and other applications related to online activities.

 

INSTAGRAM:

The name Instagram is an amalgamation of two words ‘Instant camera’ and ‘Telegram’. It is a social media application which uses the internet to upload photos and videos.  It is mainly used for sharing of photos and short videos and the content of a registered user can be shared either privately or publically with various options that are inbuilt.

 

HISTORY AND ORIGIN:

Instagram was first released by Kevin Systrome and Mike Krieger in October 6, 2010. It originated as an iOS app it was transformed to be used in Android phones in April 3, 2012. Later Facebook brought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock in 2012. Instagram entered versions of Windows 10 mobile, laptop and tab in 2016.

 

FEATURES:

The app provides a platform to upload photos and short videos. The app allows users to follow others’ feeds as well. Also geo tagging facility provides an opportunity to name a particular location with the image. Hashtags is a unique feature introduced by Instagram which enables the users to identify photos and users. Instagram can be connected to other social media networking sites so that the photos shared on Instagram can be seen on those sites as well. The photo editing filters gives various options to user enabling him to explore many variations in editing and posting of images.

 

 

IMPACT:

The new wave of using Instagram to communicate with friends and family has brought in a lot of impact on people of different class, colour, creed and race. It has penetrated the society and has a profound impact as well. Hashtags is the best feature of Instagram which allows the users to share contents with users of similar interest. This feature is well used by marketers to link users with individual product pages. Security features like the auto deletion of photos 24 hours after viewing are unique to Instagram only. Now a major percentage of Facebook users are on Instagram. The usage is more in urban cities than in rural areas. The usage of Instagram as a tool in developing small scale businesses is increasing and online sales using this app have improved.

 

SOCIAL IMPACT:

Selling Drugs by uploading images by users is one of the main controversial aspects of Instagram. British Broadcasting Corporation, as early as 2013, found that users in the United States of America posted special Hashtags to sell drugs in this social networking platform.

Inconsistent sex censorship is becoming a problem especially when it comes to exposure of young children to pornography and adult content. There is also the use of nudity in paintings and sculptures which have become easy to access by registered users. Policing the Hashtags related to porn and nudity is becoming a challenge because users use fake spellings that resemble the original word. This phenomenon in the proliferation of adult content in Instagram has very wide cultural and social impact on society.

 

IMPACT ON EMOTIONAL HEALTH:

Mental health and emotional well being is becoming a matter of concern with usage of Instagram. Self expression is the fundamental right of human beings. According to Maslow2, Self esteem is how confident one feels from a sense of achieving and worth. It’s a part of self esteem to identify one’s self identity and how much respect one has in the society. Though Instagram boosts Self expression and self identity it also promotes anxiety, depression and fear of missing out some information.

 

POLITICAL IMPACT:

The most popular saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ provides an insight into how powerful Instagram is in political campaign. Instagram is used very widely among youth who are future pillars of a nation. Politics has identified Instagram as a powerful tool to influence the masses. Users are moving from traditional mass communication mediums like television and radio to social media like Instagram which has proved to be an influential tool. With the campaign cost through Instagram being zero it has garnered more support from political parties to disseminate their ideologies. It is to through the sharing of information from Instagram to other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter improves the wide reach of this application.

 

CULTURAL IMPACT:

When most other social networking sites are saturated with textual messages, using of images makes information fast and reliable. Following users from other countries gives a glimpse of their lifestyle and prompts both cultural shock and new perceptions about culture. Global products are sold to different parts of the world using Instagram as a marketing tool. Instagram is gaining popularity in fashion, lifestyle, travel and storytelling.

 

INSTAGRAM AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA: A COMPARISON:

YouTube is used to upload low end to high quality videos with a wide variety of options so that it can be viewed, shared, added to favorites, commented and subscribed. Most contents on YouTube include live streams, short videos, short films, documentaries, educational videos and animation films. This platform is used equally by individuals and other media organizations like NDTV. Instagram on the other hand allows users to upload short videos only the length of the video is restricted to 60 seconds.

 

Facebook usage was primarily by college students but now it has spread to people from all walks of life. Marketing and referrals to blogs and publications has become its parallel benefits. It has become a simple social networking site with a complex number of users. The users can create a profile and start sharing their personal information, photos, hobbies, work and videos. Advertisements provide good revenue for Facebook. Facebook converges on audience based on demographics, interests and behavior. With this facility it has become more powerful when compared to traditional media like television and print media. In relation to Facebook, Instagram has more choice to users. There is less advertisement and the whole page is full of information that the user has loaded whether video or photos. Unlike Facebook there are no links connected to other websites.

 

Twitter is a mix of social networking and online news. Users post news and receive comments. Most of the trending Hashtags are censored when they are identified as offensive. One of the unique features is that only 140 characters are allowed per post and these messages are called as ‘tweets’. It is also used to communicate breaking news from different media and it has become a source of information than a social network. Instagram is very different from Twitter because there is lot of importance given to addition of pictures and videos in every post. Only text messages are not posted in Instagram.

Saraha is a social networking site where anonymous feedback is given to other users of the same application. Here the posting of messages is anonymous and the person who sends the information does not disclose is identity. In relation to Instagram the identity of the person who posts a photo or video is always revealed and only users who are allowed access can see them.

 

WhatsApp allows users to send messages in the form of texts and also files which can contain videos, pictures or any form of data in the form of attachments. The app just needs the user to have a valid phone number and this app can be brought to life anywhere an internet connection is available. It also has status messages which can be online in a time bound manner. It is beneficial for networking with friends, relatives as well as professional both in person and in groups.  WhatsApp also allows voice and video calling to its users. In Instagram people with similar interests can use Hastags to connect to people with the same ideas whereas in WhatsApp people with similar interests are formed as groups and telephone numbers are used as login credentials.

 

Skype, Hike, IMO are other social networking applications that are used invariably by different groups of people all across the globe. These applications are used to make voice and video calls across nations without using the normal telephone networks. The user base for these applications is varied and they use these apps in addition to Instagram.

 

LinkedIn is a professional networking site where employers can find prospective profiles. This professional networking app is aimed at improving business and employment. It is available as an app also. Users can use the services to create customized resumes. In Instagram, we find that we can follow different people in line with their professional interests as well. It also helps people to be in touch with others who post information on upcoming events and recruitments.

 

Pinterest is an app that categorizes collection of feeds on different topics. It helps us to gain information on subjects that are related to our interests. It enables users to save pictures and videos on a specific genre and save them under various headings in the same app. It helps in furthering the interest of people in a particular field. In Instagram people post pictures and only these can be followed whereas in Pinterest all available information regarding a particular search criteria are made available to the user.

 

CONCLUSION:

There are a lot of social media and networking applications available today to the public at large. These apps posse different features but Instagram has tried to maintain its own uniqueness. The usage of Instagram is addictive to the younger generation largely because of its simple user interface. The simple structure gives an easy way to upload images and adding Hashtags which connects the user to people with similar interests. One more unique feature is that unlike Facebook there is an in built mechanism of self destruction of photos in 24 hours enabling the user to protect his privacy. But there is a possibility to use screenshots as a shortcut. Snapchat alarms when someone attempts to take a screenshot of your images. But Instagram does not have this feature. WhatsApp, Pinterest and Instagram work hand in hand in the everyday activities of youngsters.

 

Linkedin provides a base to find job opportunities to numerous youngsters. Facebook is well received by middle aged people to connect with their old friends scattered across the globe. On the other hand Instagram has been the strong tool in the hands of youngsters. This gives an insight into how important it is for academicians and journalists to enter the virtual world to make positive use of these technologies that bring information to people with a click of a button. Online classes and citizen journalism are possible through the usage of these social media networks which easily captures the attention of the youth. In studying contemporary trends in new media, we find that the present day generation is willing to save and retrieve information online rather than having hard copies of the same to be used for educational or other purposes.

 

The future of new media is in the hands of the youth of tomorrow. The extensive use of mobile phones and mobile applications has brought a sea fold change in the way we have adopted ourselves to the changing scene of information exchange and growth. A few years from now, we will surely be in a journey to discover and explore new horizons in the field of social media as an extension to one’s own life. A person who is able to harness the use of new media will be the one who will have an edge over people who use traditional media for information exchange or other activities that deal with content over the world wide web.

 

REFERENCES:

1.     December Data on Facebook’s US Growth by Age and Gender: Beyond 100 million-Inside Facebook, October 7, 2014.

2.     Maslow. A.H. (1943). “A Theory of Human Motivation”, Psychological Review.

3.     Hasan. S., Mass Communication: Principles and Concepts, CBS Publishers and Distributors, 2010.

4.     Keval J. Kumar, Mass Communication in India, Jaico Publishing House, 1994.

5.     Virbala. A., Handbook of Journalism and Mass Communication, Concept Publishing Company, 2001.

6.     http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/40601036/teens-found-selling-drugs-on-snapchat-and-instagram

7.     https://www.statista.com/search/?q=instagram

8.     Pavlik and MacIntoch, John and Shawn (2015). Converging Media 4th Edition. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

9.     Wagner, Lori Ann (2015). "When Your Smartphone Is Too Smart for Your Own Good: How Social Media Alters Human Relationships", The Journal of Individual Psychology.

10.   Aichner, T. and Jacob, F. (March 2015). "Measuring the Degree of Corporate Social Media Use". International Journal of Market Research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Received on 24.10.2017       Modified on 29.11.2017

Accepted on 06.01.2018   ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res. J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2018; 9(1): 209-212.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2018.00037.2