I have always been slightly skeptical of using social media personally. It seemed to me that everyone gave off a well-manicured façade, where everyone “humble brags” and shares a very specific version of themselves. I have been on Facebook for years as a networking tool, but hadn’t been very interested in Instagram. It didn’t seem like there was anything on Instagram that I couldn’t already do on Facebook. I’m so busy with everything in my life that I hardly needed another distraction.
And yet, here I am, several weeks into using my new Instagram account our social media class at Metro State. I have mixed feelings about my experience so far. On one hand, it’s great to be able to share gorgeous visual snapshots of my life. Using Instagram has made me see the beauty in things both big and small in the world around me. I like having a place where I can share them with people I know.
On the other hand, what concerns me the most about being on Instagram is that everything I do is turned into data and picked apart by marketers and sales people. It’s no secret that Facebook (who owns Instagram) tracks everything we do and is also continually developing new image recognition technology which already learns faces, but will some day learn places, products and more. Everything I share with the world is archived, digitized and saved on a server and put into an algorithm for analysis.
I go back and forth on whether or not this troubles me or not. My initial reaction is to be freaked out that I am being watched and my actions analyzed. It makes me feel like my privacy has been violated and I don’t have control over how it gets used. On the other hand, it’s going to help marketers sell things to me more effectively. If it helps them do their job better, and means I get better recommendations, I’m not totally against that. I guess it concerns me that I don’t have transparency in terms of where it’s going and what’s happening.
I know I’m not going through this journey alone – so I look forward to being a part of the Instagram community in this course. As to what happens after this … I am undecided.