Instagram: Exploring Identity Identification

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Exploring identity creation through Instagram

Introduction

The definition of the word Instagram is derived from two key aspects: 1) ‘Insta’ comes from instant camera, a type of vintage camera that self-develops its film. 2) ‘gram’ is a shortened version of ‘telegram’, (Collins Dictionary, n.d.) which means a message sent via electricity or radio and is printed on before it gets posted to a home or office. (Instagram.com) From the combined meanings, Instagram is then launched on June 6, 2010 primarily as mobile application that allows users to snap a photo, apply filters to the photo taken and upload it on the mobile software (Instagram.com). Users “disseminate” their message in a form of images, instead of printing it. The pictures on Instagram
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This sheds a great light on the modes of identity formation that varies on its own existing spaces, e.g. online and offline identity. Sherry Turkle (1995) supports that people experience identity in modern age as a set of roles that can be mixed and matched. She adds that in postmodern times, multiple identities are not regarded at the margins of things. Postmodernism also views consumption as a passive act, when every product is mass-produced and rehashed a thousand times before, the new frontier is mass customization. Alvin Toffler (1980) argues that the decline of consumers in post-industrial age is replaced by prosumers, people who produce their own goods and services. Social media is a great example of how users are a producer and consumer altogether. Axel Bruns (2008) asserts that in networked, IT-oriented economy, participants are not passive but active consumers with some of them focusing more for personal use in ways which are innately constructive and productive of social networks and communal content. They are called as produsers engaged in the act of produsage (Kotler, 1980). Hence, online users work together to achieve better products and service through the exchange of information from one another. The power is in the hands of the consumer who becomes and advocate for a brain. In having control over their own content, it sets the drive towards users to appear as successful produser amongst others. Today’s change agents are individuals who are able to successfully garner large numbers of “friends” or “followers” in social media and possess the ability to foster introduction and connections between people by launching and promoting new

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