The Psychology of Instagram: Why we like, share, comment via a virtual platform with others, while being aware of potential drawbacks & mental health challenges.
It is common knowledge that social media are addictive. This is a sort of a drug, especially for children and young adults. The competition is huge in any niche on Instagram, yet there are new blogs entering this race every day. But what is the mechanism that makes you buy 5000 Instagram likes, followers, and comments on such services as buytoplikes.com, for example, with a tenacity of a bulldog? Let’s find out together how Instagram affects your life and is there a balance between harm and benefits?
Public Image On Instagram As A Social Construct
One of the most affecting features on Instagram is the possibility to show off your lifestyle to other people. That is the reason for the enormous popularity of photos with food and travel. That’s how we reveal the most positive moments of our life without much effort. Going out to the restaurant and visiting foreign countries was always a mark of wealth, so no wonder some people are boasting with that fact. Likes and comments are working as a sign that indicates the social approval of your looks, lifestyle, skills, thoughts and deeds.
- Profile on Instagram is an online photo album that allows you to share your best moments and news with your friends and family
- You can get a real appreciation of your work and skills, thus increasing your self-esteem
- You can increase your photography and video editing skills and produce content of high quality and aesthetics. This way you become a more intelligent and self-developing person
- Having a blog on Instagram is an easier method to start and maintain a business
- Some people can rely too much on the count of likes and underestimate or even neglect their real results if the number is not as big as they could’ve expected
- Lonely or shy people are replacing their real-life experience with online, affecting their mental health as a result
- The competition becomes unhealthy sometimes, and it provokes snobbishness and egoism towards people who are not as popular
- The “gun” from the previous statement shoots backwards as well: watching the image of success, even if it’s an illusion, can make people feel envious and aggressive.
Instagram As An Instrument Of Comparison
Another huge psychological impact of Instagram as a photo-sharing platform is the possibility to compare yourself to other people. Measuring up is natural to humankind, and Instagram is just the network for this. Exposing bodies and accomplishments is nothing surprising to us these days. And the benefits of that are:
- It is easy to find motivation and resources for improving yourself physically, intellectually, or both at once
- Feeling unity when you see the results of other people, that are similar to you
- Showing off your fashion taste, physical form, intellectual achievements, etc, thus feeling valuable
But here is the harm as well:
- Again, envy and bullying are standing side to side with appreciation and positive vibes
- Unhealthy behavior towards your own body – eating disorders, depression and self-harm. Just because your physical form is not like one of your favorite celebrities.
- Wrong and dangerous stereotypes of “perfection”, that provoke destructive thoughts and distorted image of the real human body.
Feeling Yourself Included In the Social Life
The reason for Instagram’s addictiveness is the fact that due to the Stories, Live videos, IGTV and intense posting it feels just like real active life is happening around you. This is related to the problem of FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out. Instagram feed is slowly replacing the activities of real-life experience – like shopping, sightseeing, education, and communication. On the one hand, there are some pros to it:
- You can really see something interesting and new to you, see different people and be aware of socially meaningful affairs of the world.
- You are keeping in touch with your friends, family and celebrities without being annoying and persuasive.
- You can track up interesting real-life activities and events that are taking place nearby.
- You fill in your visual library with fresh looks of favorite or desired products and get inspiration.
On the other hand, there can be a bad influence too:
- Instagram is a place where tons of information appear everyday. Not all of it is good for you – propaganda of violence, racism, sexism and many other negative things are there too.
- Promotion on Instagram is still promotion, so sometimes the image of a product that you see is just a big fat lie that is imposed to the customers.
- Some people, especially the ones who are not sure about their social skills, can replace their real-life activity online for 100% and experience loneliness, anxiety and get more complexes.
Conclusion – why do we feel the urge to like, comment and share so much?
In this article, we have highlighted not only benefits but the harm that can be done to your mental health as well. Social media platforms are very addictive, especially for girls, because they help us to feel socialization even if we cannot meet other people in real life for some reason. And the trick is that sometimes you lose the balance between outside and online worlds and scrolling through your feed is looking better to you than any other activity, like reading, going for a walk or spending time on your hobbies. Being too concerned with likes and overall popularity online is not good for your health, because it provokes narcissism and the wrong picture of the world.
Although it is worth noticing that using Instagram to share your experience and interesting moments with your friends and family could be called a must because this is the way to connect with them. As it is obvious from our pros and cons lists above, it is important for your self-esteem that you feel appreciated and valuable to people. On this note, we want to give you a piece of advice:
Instagram is fun and engaging, but the best content for it still comes from real-life experience.