Wednesday, November 19, 2014

INSTAGRAM: Fast, Beautiful, Fun And Maybe A Touch Of Mean

English: A collage showing a photograph, along...
English: A collage showing a photograph, along with the same photograph processed through all 15 filters in the iOS app Instagram (as of the date of creation in April 2011) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let's do a quick inventory of our cameras, scrapbooks, and photo albums...


Your age might determine how many cameras, scrapbooks and photo albums you own. For example, we have an associate who has one closet that is dedicated to these items. She has become the keeper of the family history. When a family member is trying to create a collage or YouTube video to honor a loved one, they will contact her for digital copies of decades old photos.

Of course, in today's world most of us don't worry about having the camera at just the right moment because our smart phones, cell phones and tablets have become our Kodak or Polaroid. We are always ready to capture the moment.

And we now have virtual scrapbooks and photo albums compliments of apps like GOOGLE+, FACEBOOK, TWITTER and, of course, INSTAGRAM.

Today let's focus on INSTAGRAM


According to Instagram.com, "Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family." It is free of cost and offers a number of tools to "edit" the photo in creative ways. In a recent article published by Business Insider: The Psychology Behind Why Instagram Is So Addictive by Drake Baer we learned that there are 200 million Instagram users, and 90% of these users are under 35 who somehow find the time in each day to upload 544 million photos! The number is startling until you do the simple math; it's about three photos per day per user. 

Take a few minutes and read Baer's article, he reaches out to Nir Eyal of Stanford University to discover the addictive formula built into Instagram. Basically there is a ritual attached to using this app which rewards the user and before long it becomes addictive.

Email subject line: How Instagram became home to today's mean girls 


If you read that subject line in an email from TIME Magazine would you click on it? We were curious for two reasons: (1) we are interested in social apps and how people use them (2) last January we published a blog post about bullying which featured the "Mean Girls" reference.

The TIME Magazine article is written and researched by Rachel Simmons: "The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram."

If you are a parent or counselors of teenage girls, then you might find Simmons' observations helpful and thought provoking. She points out that many parents are aware of bullying via Facebook or Twitter, but they have been less concerned about Instagram. Ms. Simmons offers:
'But Instagram’s simplicity is also deceiving: look more closely, and you find the Rosetta Stone of girl angst: a way for tweens and teens to find out what their peers really think of them (Was that comment about my dress a joke or did she mean it?), who likes you (Why wasn’t I included in that picture?), even how many people like them (if you post and get too few likes, you might feel “Instashame,” as one young woman calls it). They can obsess over their friendships, monitoring social ups and downs in extreme detail. They can strategically post at high traffic hours when they know peers are killing time between homework assignments. “Likes,” after all, feel like a public, tangible, reassuring statement of a girl’s social status.'

We are all in this together: "MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN" 


Recently a friend mentioned that she saw the preview for the movie "Men, Women & Children." We inquired if she intended to see it and she was non-committal. Here is the preview.


 



If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

While many reviews were not overly positive, we found Richard Roeper's in the Chicago Sun-Times pretty balanced when discussing the importance of communication:
This is the abiding theme of Jason Reitman’s perceptive, moving slice of modern life — a time capsule of a film that understands how much technology dominates the lives of teenagers, as well as the parents trying their best to keep up with the times. At times Reitman (adapting Chad Kultgen’s 2011 novel) can be a bit preachy and scolding about the pitfalls of surrendering one’s “RL” (real life) to one’s online existence, but just about any parent or any teenager seeing this film will empathize with any number of the interconnecting plot lines. At times “Men, Women & Children” veers close to becoming a checklist of tech-related social issues (though, thankfully, there’s no scene of someone texting and driving and then — watch out for that giant truck!), but the writing is strong and the performances are universally excellent.
It turns out that the box office draw for "Men, Women & Children" left a lot to be desired by the producers. It could have been timing or maybe the previews were just too haunting, too real and parents with teens and tweens just couldn't bring themselves to watch, listen and hear about how we live in this world of apps. Hopefully more people will take the time to watch the film in their own home...this happens because there's an app for it!

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