Sample Midterm Paper #2 - 1 Instagrammer an Identity...

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1 Instagrammer: an Identity Created out of Compliance In this study, I hope to explore the global social phenomenon of Instagram. When a person first joins Instagram their inexperience is noticeable to those who frequent the site. This would suggest that with more experience on the site, behaviors are learned and an identity is developed. The judgmental nature of Instagram appears to breed insecurities as well as opportunities to be boastful or become popular, which create a sense of self-awareness that leads to a desire to portray one’s self in the best light possible. An Instagrammer’s behavior on the site is therefore shaped by these norms and their posts become less candid and more premeditated in order to impress their peers. This identity is one of particular sociological interest because Instagram has become a huge social phenomenon, reaching people all over the world. This study exposes Instagram’s ability to manipulate its users into voluntary compliance, which will offer useful insight into aspects of human cognition and shed light on effective approaches to gaining influence over a large number of people. I will be focusing my analysis on the development of behaviors and their causes by users that seek to be successful on Instagram. Therefore, the correlations I will draw between social influence and the development of attitudes and behaviors in this site will exclude those users of Instagram for whom being successful in the site is not important. Currently, public opinion on Instagram has been positive in that the app is well received and users seem to enjoy the site. We know this because as of February 2013, Instagram has announced having 100 million active users, so common sense dictates that users must enjoy it for Instagram to remain so popular. However, there seems to be a belief held by those that have heard of Instagram but who are not active users, which states that Instagram is a space to allow people to express themselves. In this paper, I wish to test the validity of a differing notion that proposes the creation of a separate identity on Instagram, and that this identity is ameliorative due to the critical nature of the site. Therefore, the judgmental features of the Instagram environment contribute to the formation of identities and behaviors among individuals who are exposed to the influential interactions and
2 symbolic communications that occur in the site. My findings show that users are concerned about the reactions of their audience and have learned how to post based on what gets better responses from their peers. While forming my thesis I was especially influenced by Jodi O’ Brien’s “Who Am I? Developing Character” and Thomas Scheff’s “A Theory of Genius.” Brien was very important for forming my foundation in how and why identities are formed in general because she taught me that the self develops through social interaction with other people. After learning this, I made sure to notice the behaviors of significant others and how they could affect identity formation. Scheff’s

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