Considering Instagram as Crucial Technology for “SJU Speaks”


My Technology:

A technology that is absolutely vital to my project is the app/software Instagram. I have the most recent update (version 270.0), which is said to contain “bug fixes and performance improvements” from the previous versions. Instagram was originally launched for iOS in 2010, gaining popularity to eventually be bought by Facebook Inc. in 2012. Instagram is now owned by the company Meta, which now also includes Facebook, Messenger, Facebook Watch, and Meta Portal. 


Features I Need to Master:

While I already have a lot of experience using the Instagram app, there are features that are relatively new to me that I need to practice using, as well as existing features that I need to review and master. In January 2023, Instagram launched a multi-select feature in explore: where you can select multiple photos in the Instagram explore tab and press “not interested” so that the Instagram algorithm will provide me with better explore content. I intend to use this feature because it will help me optimize and improve my Instagram usage and user experience. Another feature I need to master is implementing relevant hashtags in order for SJUspeaks to capture the attention of other students, organizations and SJU administrators. I will try to include 10-15 hashtags per post, each with anywhere from 10k-1M so that my posts won’t go unnoticed. In changing, testing, and trying new hashtags, I can monitor how much growth I receive from these through insights and adjust as necessary to find the best combination. A final feature I need to master in order for my account to be more accessible is working with ALT text, subtitles, and captions on my posts. There is a way to incorporate ALT text into each post, which can be found in “advanced settings” when preparing a post. I will work to come up with relevant ALT text to describe the post in detail for users who may be visually impaired. As for subtitles in videos, I will use the “captions” sticker feature in order to cater to those who may be hard of hearing or would rather read the text instead of listening to the audio.


How is Instagram social?

Instagram is a social technology firstly due to the fact that it is one of the largest and most successful social media platforms today. It allows users to connect with people all over the world; to reach audiences that would otherwise be impossible. Each Instagram account maintains a purpose: whether it be for marketing, personal use, or raising awareness for an active cause. Instagram’s design features of DMs, comments, and likes all enable users to communicate with one another in various ways. 


How does Instagram reflect cultural values?

Instagram reflects the modern cultural values of a society that always wants to be connected, informed, and involved. Instagram promotes people constantly in communication, being “in the know”, and sharing through a largely visual platform for various purposes. 


Affordances of Instagram:

Since Instagram has the affordance of connecting and reaching large audiences publicly, this social media app is crucial to my project. Sharing students’ concerns, ideas, tips, and comments will raise awareness and advocate for changes to be made for an improved campus community at SJU. 

Another affordance of Instagram is its ability to give various multimedia options for posts. I will be able to choose and alternate between photo, graphic, video, live streams, and story posts as options to share students’ submissions and other information.

Instagram also affords the opportunity for growth, especially through the ability to use hashtags, the explore page, insights, and following. There are various features I can use that will aid in the publicity SJUspeaks can receive. 


Constraints of Instagram:

A particular constraint of Instagram is that although I can use all of these features to grow my account, I do not know if I will see extremely drastic changes. There is variability in what content is successful– it is hard to determine what will gain the most attention. While I can try my best to follow the best hashtags and trends fitting my account, exponential growth is not certain.

Another constraint is that a phone is necessary to use this technology: even in the Apple App store, it says Instagram is most compatible with an iPhone that requires iOS 13.4 or later. In order to use the app, I always will need my iPhone present, charged, and up-to-date. 

Instagram also has the constraint of only being able to view and interact with one photo at a time, especially in terms of the “albums” (where you post one photo and slide to view others within one post). This is difficult, especially if I would like to see more than one photo at once to compare posts larger than just the cover thumbnails on a profile.