Only in recent years have social networks gone viral, captivating internet users with a new form of social interaction. Developing a virtual identity when connected (Barnes 1997), these networks allow users to share their private and social life more comfortably than ever before, with spectators from all over the world free to comment with almost no restrictions.
Instagram is an online social networking service available only on mobile phone, which allows users to capture photos and videos of their daily life and social life, and share their experiences with other users. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has spread rapidly, gaining 130 million users within just three years. Having been a member for approximately 6 months, I am already quite familiar with the layout of the application, (which was downloaded onto my iPhone) which uses 5 main buttons for navigation; Wall, Featured Content, Take Photo, News and a Profile button.
The absence of statuses adds to the simplicity of Instagram, you just hit the main points (Wood, Kaiser, Abramms, 2006). The lack of a chat feature allowed me to move about without anyone paying any undue attention (Prouty, R. 2009). This streamlined design is undoubtedly a main factor in the success of the application, as there are many other social networks which allow photo sharing as a secondary feature.
Similar to sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Instagram allows users to follow and be followed by others, empowering those who attract attention to their profile. Those with a large amount of followers, generally in the hundreds and thousands, provided more activity on their profile, in terms of likes and comments.
The conversion of the real and virtual worlds come about through discussion in the comment section, where users share their opinions. Travelling through this social network limited freedom greatly, as there are no links to follow and explore in depth, nor is there any direct form of conversation.
Wood, D et al, 'The multiple truths of the mappable world' (2006)