The Misuse of Instagram – Part 3 (As we observe).

Part 1: https://theayamba.com/apps/the-misuse-of-instagram-part-1/

Part 2: https://theayamba.com/apps/the-misuse-of-instagram-part-2-the-story-of-dorothea/

The feedback from Millennials who use Instagram is vital in analyzing the incongruence of Instagram. To cover a wider range of audience, a survey was conducted via Instagram poll. An Instagram poll is a feature on Instagram where users can ask their followers to choose between two options. This poll was used to ask a series of questions with Millenials as the target audience. Each Instagram had different numbers of followers for wider participation. At the time of the survey, these were the number of followers each participant had. Participant A had a total of 7,483, Participant B had a total of 12,100, and Participant C had a total of 4,729. Between the three participants, the total number of followers was 42,312.

Questions 

  • What is the problem: Instagram or the millennials who use the App?
  •    Have you ever bullied online?
  •  Should there be an age increase from 13 years to a higher age on who can manage a social media account?   
  • Do the followers on social media matter?
  •     Do likes on social media matter?
  •  Have you ever been pressured to be or do something as a result of Instagram?

These questions were asked at various points of the day, lasting for a total of 24 hours. It gave the followers enough time to participate in the poll. Answers were given to me after the poll had ended on the various accounts of the participants. The following are the results of the poll.

Questions  Responses (YES) Responses (NO)
What is the problem: Instagram or the millennials who use the App? Instagram

118%

People 

 252%

Have you ever bullied online? 110% 190%
Should there be an age increase from 13 years to a higher age on who can manage a social media account?  204% 96%
Do the followers on social media matter? 58% 242%
Do likes on social media matter? 84% 216%
Have you ever been pressured to be or do something as a result of Instagram? 51% 249%

From the results of the survey, it is apparent that 252% of people believe that the effect of Instagram is caused by the Millenials who use the App. For the rest of the responses, it was evident that the likes on social media mattered to 84% of its users, 51% have been pressured into being someone there are not and 110% have been bullied online. 58% believe that the followers on social media matter to them and 204% believe that there should be an age restriction on who can manage an Instagram account. 84% and 58% of the participants in the survey stated that the likes and followers mattered to them. A huge percentage stated that it did not matter to them which speaks to the pathological and healthy way Instagram should be viewed.

2. An Engagement Group.

An engagement group also known as PODS is a group of friends/ strangers that like and or comment on each other post to inflate their amount of engagement on Instagram for vanity and, or to try and cheat the Instagram algorithm. More engagement means each post will become relevant enough for Instagram to push it to the top of its explore page giving it the most visibility, while other content ends up being placed further down. To be in an engagement group means the followers, likes, comments, and visibility matters. This observation was conducted to understand more about the survey responses of those who stated that the likes and followers mattered to them. For an engagement group to work, rules have to be put in place that act as a set of principles or regulations that govern the conduct of the participants in the engagement group. Each engagement group has its own set of rules and regulations that differs from the rules and regulations that govern Instagram. I joined an engagement group introduced to me by a blogger (known as Blogger A) with about 100,000 Instagram followers. The engagement group consisted of 30 bloggers. There was no restriction on the number of followers the bloggers could have. The bloggers had followers that ranged from 7,000 to 100,000 Instagram followers. The purpose of the group was to propel more engagement in their respective social media pages through the support of the group. The observation was supposed to run for 14 days. While in the group, my main focus was to observe how these bloggers obeyed the rules of engagement, while also observing how much they valued the likes, comments, and follows on Instagram. The observation only lasted only 7 days because it became increasingly difficult to control the participants and the group had to be deleted after a week.

DAYS SUBJECT MATTER OBSERVATION
Addition I was added to the group. (There was a substantial amount of interaction taking place) They were twenty other bloggers already in the group who had begun interacting with each other. The conversations were pleasant and professional. I refrained from introducing myself to the group because I wanted to observe the interactions between the bloggers.  
Introduction More bloggers were added, and more introductions were made. I introduced myself on the second day because red flags were raised about how quiet some of the new additions to the group were. I noticed a lot of bloggers began to follow each other. The administrator of the group stated that the bloggers didn’t need to follow each other. However, the rules were not officially established until the next day.
Rules The rules were listed as follows: each blogger is allowed only two posts per day, each post should be liked and commented on by every blogger in the group. The comments should consist of four words apart from emojis so that Instagram does not perceive the engagement as spam. When a post is shared in the group, all participants must acknowledge the post by liking it. It shows how many bloggers are actively following the rules of engagement and how many bloggers are not. Anyone who did not comply with the rules of engagement would be immediately removed from the group
Discord After the rules were read and acknowledged by the participants, there began to be a lot of verbal exchanges. On the fourth day, most of the participants began to come out of their shells. Some of the bloggers decided that it should be a must that every blogger is followed because the followers mattered to them.
Division Some members wanted everyone to follow each other, while others didn’t. This caused a huge division between members of the group. The members of the group decided to take sides, which brought about verbal exchanges. Some of the bloggers had to be taken out of a group for being unruly.
Deletion The engagement began to spiral with each blogger posting at least two updates per day. A lot of people couldn’t keep up and tension began to ensue because the number of comments and likes on a post did not match the number of bloggers in the group. 
New group creation. The group had to be deleted because the bloggers began to act erratically. The division could not be managed with bloggers unfollowing each other back and forth. There was no consensus on how many of the bloggers wanted to be followed and how many did not. The group was deleted due to the confusion about likes, comments, and follows overshadowed the true purpose of the group; to foster support and engagement. A new group was created with a new set of rules.

The observation of the bloggers in the engagement group for seven days showed that while rules are supposed to create a system of conduct, it is most likely to be broken when people have their own agendas. The arguments ensued mainly because the rules created by Blogger A could not be adjusted to fit everyone’s needs. Examining these sorts of interactive processes requires more than just input/ output measures of how group members feel about an issue before and after discussion. Detailed assessments of what each person actually says in the discussion, including both expressions of preference and arguments that are raised are needed. Members act out, not out of any majority pressure, or because they are persuaded by the substance of the arguments, but rather because they are enacting their understood roles as group members. The behaviors of the group members became more about the rules not being inclusive because it gave leeway for most members to opt-out of following each other. It was apparent that some of the bloggers wanted the rules to be adjusted so that everyone could follow and like each other posts because it mattered to them. It meant that the likes and followers held some level of importance or significance to their value on Instagram. According to Hill Bashir, in his research paper on the Effect of social media on mental health, stated that in the present era, addiction to social media has incredibly increased, once an individual gets on, it is difficult to refrain from its use. Comments and likes act as positive reinforcement which can easily turn into a need to be constantly liked and noticed. Certain people compare their lives with the immaculate lives of their friends. In the present world Anxiety is one of the fundamental mental health problems. People fret about the likes and comments of their uploaded pictures and videos. 

In the survey, 58% of people said that the followers mattered and 84% of the participants stated that the likes mattered to them. If the likes and followers were to be taken away, their value on Instagram and perhaps in real wife would diminish. Attaching value to likes and followers on an App creates a dissonance between one’s external behavior and their emotional state/wellbeing. The external behavior is pushing for more engagement that generates more likes and followers needed for their accounts to be noticed. The internal emotional state is left continuously unsatisfied because there are always more likes and followers to be gained. Mark’s behavior to Dorothea shows that millennials have become subjugated by their own minds and perceptions of what Instagram should be, instead of what it is; a photo and video Application. Research conducted by Greenfield,  professor of Oxford University in 2008 suggests that social network users may have a detrimental effect on well-being by leading certain people to exhibit lower self-control. This may be particularly true for the current generation of adolescents and young adults who are the heaviest users of social networks. Social media has an impact on the human brain and human identity. The mind is the personalization of the brain, a set of neuronal connections peculiar to each individual, driven in turn by that person’s particular experience and interaction with the outside world. Due to the malleability of brains, humans forte is the ability to learn and to adapt since we are sensitive to outside influences. The ability of brains to make connections shifts humans from a purely sensory world into one with a personalized cognitive context one might call identity. The question now remains, are millennials finding or losing their identity on Instagram? through the latest trends, latest updates, and posts, will they always be influenced by what they see on Instagram and if they will, who do they grow up to become?

Join us next time for part 4 of this series as we bring this riveting series to a close.

Follow @ayamba.theblog on Instagram for more updates

Pictures retrieved from Pinterest.

 

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