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Emojis Changed the Way I Used Instagram

As a teenager growing up in the 20th Century, using and adapting to the vast variety of social media platforms is second nature at this point. With every platform having its own unique layout, features and audience it is inevitable that a user of multiple platforms will portray a different side of themselves depending on which app they’re using. This is not only why social media is so addictive but why it is so toxic in so many instances, people can filter out the bad and only exhibit the good to their followings. Due to this I make a conscious effort to exhibit my most realistic characteristics on all my platforms but particularly on my Instagram (or at least I try).

In a piece by Jacob Amedie titled The Impact of Social Media on Society he states, “our profiles reflect how we want to be perceived, rather than showing an honest picture of who we truly are.”. My Instagram account used to be a great conversation starter for a lot of people at one point and for one particular reason. The emojis. As someone who has never been shy to stand out and with scrolling through your feed being the main selling point of the app, I needed a way to make my posts stick out amongst the rest of the photos in my followers feed. This is where I initially established the idea of framing my photos in vibrant emojis in front of a white background and always having a stupid video or meme at the end of my post accompanied with a really stupid caption. I followed this formula largely because of how unique it was, while everybody was taking themselves extremely seriously on an app trying to show off their ‘perfect lifestyles’ I was trying to portray myself in a way that showed that I didn’t really care what others thought and that I was just posting for fun. 

In 2009, An idea called Facebook depression came to light which is “defined as depression that develops when  preteens and teens spend a great deal of  time  on  social  media  sites,  such  Facebook, and  then  begin  to  exhibit  classic symptoms  of  depression”  (Selfhoud,  Branje,  Delsing,  ter  Bogt,  &  Meeu,  2009). Elements of this phenomenon still ring true 11 years later and for me especially, I make a conscious effort to limit my time on social media and reinforce the notion that what I’m seeing is usually not the real person.

A large reason for me being so comfortable in doing this is because I saw my followers on the app as 75% friends & people I know and 25% people I’ve never met before and therefore don’t care what they think of my posts. A lot of people ultimately liked the way I portrayed myself on the app which gives you a lot of confidence when you know that it’s the way you are in real life, no photoshop, no touching up the photos, just a lotta emojis and a lotta stupid photos.

Reference List

  • Amedie, J., 2015. The Impact of Social Media on Society. 1st ed. California: Santa Clara University
  • Juszczyk, S., 2015. Fields of Impact of Social Media on Youth – Methodological Implications. 1st ed. Katowice, Poland: University of Silesia in Katowice.

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