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The Impact of Instagram on Lifestyle

By: Megan Tjandrasuwita

Where do you go to find recipes for healthy food, fashion tips, home furniture, or exotic vacation spots to enhance your lifestyle? Well, if you are a social media buzz, it is likely that you would look for the answers on Instagram, an online application that allows users to share photos and videos. Hashtags and geotags can be added to photos and therefore linking them to posts with the same subjects or geography. With over 700 million active users per month, the ability to share photos has spurred businesses and individuals to publish and advertise their products and specialties in this social media site. An Instagram user simply needs to subscribe to their favorite advertisers to get contents that they are interested in.

Why Instagram and not other social media? This is primarily because a picture is worth a thousand words and Instagram makes it relatively easy for their users to screen for the kind of feed that they are interested in and it provides features which are appealing to advertisers. Even after subscribing to a feed source, users can still screen the feed using a set of hashtags and geotags based on their interests so that not everything published at the source is sent. Granted, identifying sources of relatively rare contents may not always be straightforward. Well-known companies or popular products are easy to find, but there are also multitude of individual bloggers and small companies who advertise on Instagram and who may offer products or services which are more suitable to your lifestyle taste and needs. For example, searching for sources for healthy food recipes may be more difficult than searching for sources for gourmet food recipes. And if searching within Instagram proves inadequate, with a little help from search engines, one can find articles that offer hints for relevant sources such as this one: The Best Healthy Food Instagram Feed To Help You Stay On Track.

In 2016, the Instagram Stories feature was added. This feature allows users to add pictures or video to their Instagram story, which are automatically deleted 24 hours after they are uploaded. Many advertisers find this feature useful to advertise time-sensitive events such as concerts, parties, fundraising events, etc. While many believe that this feature is a copy of Snapchat, Instagram generally offers features which are more compelling to advertisers. Instagram has relatively easier content search feature and offers the ability to link a picture to the user’s website or YouTube channel which is very important to businesses to link their product images to their store. Snapchat only allows posting of live video while Instagram allows posting of saved edited video, therefore better quality video. Also given the popularity of Instagram, many advertisers tend to have built more followers in Instagram than in Snapchat and are reluctant to put the effort to advertise in another social media channel. Instagram also provides better statistical data such as the number of followers and web-clicks, which are useful to identify the influencers who set lifestyle trends and to give feedback that help advertisers make business decisions.

It is quite likely Snapchat and other popular social media will also improve their features to better link businesses to consumers. Regardless of your preference, it is clear that social media will continue to influence our lifestyle.

About Megan T

Megan is a senior at The Harker School. She is interested in applied mathematics, computer algorithms, artificial intelligence, cognitive vision science, and economics. Outside of school, she is a tutor and mentor at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula (BGCP), a regular volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB), classical pianist, and an avid figure skater. In her free time, she enjoys exploring hiking trails in the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe, reading science fiction books, WIRED and The New Yorker magazines.

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