Instagram Power Notes

Major/Repetitive Themes:

  • Using “backstage” vs. “front stage” in approach to using Instagram (Goffman); can also tie in with Marwick and boyd’s discussion of celebrity and micro-celebrity: pgs 10, 48
  • The importance of media multiplexity with customers (Baym): pg 155, 170
  • Simplicity of posts/captions/images with one, clear focus: pg 122-123, 158
  • Providing a sense of urgency to encourage customers: pg 124
  • Encompasses entire notion of attention economy (Shifman): value of your Instagram profile is determined by how many followers, likes, comments you have. Entire book centered around this goal: pg 52
  • The importance of quality over quantity: page 65, 113

Important Facts About Instagram:

  • The first social media site “born mobile” (xv of Introduction): Use silent film analogy in introduction;
  • Over 50% of top brands are now using Instagram ( 3)
  • More than 100 million users (3)
  • Passed Twitter in terms of daily active users on mobile devices (3)
  • “The first significant social network built specifically to work on a mobile device” (4)
  • Roughly 5 million images are shared every day (6)

Additional Course Material:

  • Instagram: a form of affective labor for a company (Terranova): subset of immaterial labor; producing affects: personal connections, feelings, emotions, moods, relationships, love, etc. pgs 83-91
  • Social Shaping stance (Baym): pg 15: users not agreeing to Terms of Use/Instagram responded by changing
  • Context Collapse (Ellison and boyd): pg 29: “Check to make sure the hashtag is not open to multiple interpretations, or else it runs the risk of being used for the wrong purpose… what you popularize, others can hijack. You cannot control its use” (power of user); pg 31: “Once created, [hashtags] take on a power of their own”; “nightmare reader” alluded to on page 70 (Marwick and boyd)
  •  Shared Practices on SNS (Baym): pg 33: problems with “hijacking a hashtag”; pg 54, 65
  • Profile-Centric vs. Media-Centric (Ellison and boyd): page 42: Instagram more focused on content than conversations; pg 44, 51: Instagram is “social media lite”
  • Benefits of weak ties: pg 54, 58
  •  Importance of social grooming (Vitak): pg 55, 57, 58, 65
  • Presentation (Liu): pages 66-70; warning against theatrical performance: pg 91

Left Unanswered:

  • Doesn’t address too many instances of context collapse
  • No discussion of “slacktivism” in Chapter 9
  • Addresses mainly businesses with physical products
  • Expansion of photo-walk?

Points of Contention:

  • Looking at Liberty Jane Clothing’s own Instagram and seeing if claims match up to reality: seems more like a personal Instagram page than a business; “backstage” is important, but some focus appears to be lost

Possible Inclusions:

  • New video feature of Instagram: how can this new feature help businesses?
  • Although nonprofit services were included, it would have been beneficial to see Miles include more non-physical product companies and how they can use Instagram just as easily
  • Financial benefits of Instagram: using it as a tool for a start-up/asking for money; building social capital? (partnerships)
  • Doesn’t delve into truly “social” aspects of Instagram: how to be funny/witty/not comment as much; appealing to an older generation as opposed to the group that they’re targeting (us + younger)


  1. […] on Instagram (Tufecki, attention economy), and several of us(Nicolas, Skyler, Ray, Carolyn, and Michelle) agreed and recognized that the attention economy is an integral part in relation to Instagram as a […]

  2. […] by tying this to the ‘presentation of self’ and backstage performativity à la Goffman. (Michelle B.) This backstage performance that the author implies, implants an image of honesty and authenticity […]

  3. […] as a result, his strategies were aimed at companies offering a physical product. This left me, Ray, Skylar, Michelle, and Claire wishing that Miles had used examples of other brands and companies that […]

  4. […] is “akin to casting a vote of approval.” In her notes on Miles’ book, csmtwerk group member Michelle Budnyza strongly noted how this Instagram marketing culture is similar to Limor Shifman’s idea of the […]

  5. […] but instead became a hate tag where customers posted insults towards McDonalds. As Nicolas, Skyler, Michelle, and I mention, it is important to use the right hashtag and to use it appropriately so as to avoid […]

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