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Jennifer Trang

UWRT 1103-021
October 2014
Assignment Two: The Narrative Research Paper

In 2013, Time Magazine listed a popular photo-sharing and video-sharing app, otherwise
known as Instagram, as Time's 50 Best Android Applications. Instagram is a social networking
site that uses photo-sharing and, later on in 2013, video-sharing as a way to connect with the
world. Its history and development goes back to 2010 in San Francisco when creators Kevin
Systrom and Mike Krieger decided to focus their Burbn project on mobile photography. Before
getting that idea for their project, both creators assumed that photography required big DSLR
(Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras and years in art school but when mobile phone cameras
started getting better, they decided to challenge that assumption. This would lead to the creation
of the app "Instagram"; the name comes from a blend of the words "instant camera" and
"telegram". The app was created as a fun way to share photos of your life to friends by snapping
a photo on your mobile device, choosing a filter, then proceed to upload the photo on your
Instagram feed. Both Systrom and Krieger envisioned a world connected through photos.
Instagram met its start on October 6th, 2010 and two months later, the photo-sharing app had at
least 1 million users.
Today, the app Instagram has become a popular and successful social media network. It
became how Systrom and Krieger imagined when the app was created, a fast beautiful photo
sharing app that allows everyone to experience your life through pictures. The app can be found
available free in the Apple App and Google Play stores on your mobile devices. It has allowed

users to be connected with friends and everyone in the world. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram
has over 200 million users active on the app with at least over 55 million photos being uploaded
each day. As of today, the app continues to grow each day with more users and pictures being
uploaded. Instagram currently ranks at number 7 on the "Top 15 Most Popular Social
Networking Sites" by eBiz, along with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. Because of its
popularity, Instagram has created an impact and influence on today's society and including
My personal relationship with Instagram dates back to when I got my first iPhone 4 in
2011. Instagram was one of the few mobile apps I downloaded onto my phone. Using Instagram
for the first time, I didn't understand its purpose since I saw it as nothing but a camera app that
came with photographic filters. However, it wasn't until 2012 when I began to see people from
my high school using the app to share their photos to followers or everyone who can see them. I
began following their footsteps by sharing photos, following users and receiving followers
altogether. Next thing I knew, I saw that Instagram was not just a camera app, it is a type of
social networking app that uses photo-sharing and video-sharing as a way to connect with the
world. Since using the app, Instagram has created a huge impact in my life by influencing me to
become someone Ive always wanted to be since I was a young girl, a photographer. Instagram
has allowed me that opportunity by letting showcase my photography and daily life as a way to
express myself since people rarely see this side of me. I believe that this would help me in my
path to becoming a photographer. However, its just not me that Instagram and influenced.
Instagram and other social media networks has created influences and impacts in todays society
and continues to do so. In this paper, I plan on exploring the far-reaching implications of social

Literature Review:
Every research and sources that focuses on Instagram or any social networks all agree
that social media is a growing industry that has created a huge impact on todays society. With
social media becoming a popular trend, it has conducted many researchers to do research on this
specific field. Even though they focus on the same social media networks, they all research on
different areas of social media. Research in social media all cover different topics such as the
impact of social media usage, social media influence on businesses and marketing, and the
growing popularity of Instagram and other social media networks.
Research on social media covers a lot of topics but most of them usually focus on the
influences and popularity of social media. Among those who focused on the influences and
popularity are researchers like Abbott, Donaghey, Hare, and Hopkins (2013), Reuben (2008),
Caoduro (2014), Ferrara, Interdonato, and Tagarelli (2014), Kaplan and Haenlein (2010),
Hanna, Rohm, and Crittenden (2011) and Trang (2014). Researchers Abbott, Donaghey,
Hare, and Hopkins, Ferrara, Interdonato, and Tagarelli all focus on Instagram and its popularity.
One of the research groups (Abbott and others) wrote about the industry panel held by Bonds
Univ. Library with social media experts that covered topics about the popularity of Instagram
while the other research group (Ferrara and others) focused on understanding human behavior
and interactions on Instagram. Researchers Reuben, Caoduro, Kaplan, Haenlein, Hanna, Rohm,
and Crittenden mainly focus on the influences that Instagram and social media have created.
Caoduro explored the emergence of photo filter and effect applications that were heavily
influenced by Instagram and other photo filter apps while researchers Reuben, Kaplan, Haenlein,
Hannah, Rohm, and Crittenden focused on how social media has influenced businesses and
companies to use social media networks for marketing strategies. In my personal observations

(Trang, 2014), I observed three separate observations of my own Instagram home feed and
conducted an interview with someone who also uses Instagram. My observations touched on
how users use social media and how it has impacted them. Also, the interview includes questions
that relate to the impact of using social media.
Not all research and articles have focused on the popularity and influences social media
has created within todays society. There are some that have dealt with this certain topic-- social
media usage of children, teens, young adults, etc. Among those who have focused on this
particular topic are researchers like OKeeffe and Clarke-Pearson (Pediatrics, 2011) and
Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, and Zickhur (Pew Research Center, 2010). Both sources all focus on
social media usage among teens and children however, they do not exactly cover the same thing.
Researchers from Pediatrics covered the benefits (socializing, communication) and risks
(cyberbullying, harassment) of younger people using social media and pediatricians position to
help families understand social media networks and to encourage healthy use and urge parents
to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, Facebook depression, sexting, and
inappropriate content. Researchers from Pew Research Center also deal with social media usage
of teens however, unlike the researchers from Pediatrics, they focus on the findings about
internet and social media usage among teens and young adults and includes data from conducted
surveys that were taken in 2009.
Entering a Conversation:
In todays world, it is agreeable to say that many social media networks such as
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, is the largest growing platform of communications. Every
day, it continues to rise to popularity with tons of people being active on social networking sites
and more people joining to become a part of this remarkable phenomenon. Due to the popularity,

it has positively influenced many companies, businesses, and organizations to use social media
as a marketing technique for promoting and advertising purposes. Many users, especially teens
and young adults, are using and viewing social networks daily, thus prompting companies,
businesses, and organizations to use social media to reach to consumers and share to them about
an event, product, company, or brand. Now that traditional advertising is no longer in use, its
time to rely on social media networks as a technique to use for marketing.
Many companies and businesses use social media for advertisement but each social
networking websites have different ways for them to promote their products. For example, on
Instagram, marketers promote their products through photo-sharing with messages. Marketers
tend to use mostly Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for advertisement since, in my opinion,
these three are the most popular social media networks. Instagram, however, is proved to be
more successful with marketing since, with at least over 200 million users active, many
companies are now using this mobile app as a marketing strategy. Because more users are using
Instagram, it reaches out to companies to use that app for marketing. Marketers are trying for
visual marketing to engage with audiences so using Instagram is a great way since more people
are going over to that app. However, its not just companies that are using these strategies on
social media sites to promote and advertise in order to get products to sell. There are individual
users, like artists and photographers that use social networking sites, like Instagram, to promote
their work.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Instagram has over 200 million users as of
October 2014. Among those 200 million users are either artists, photographers, or anyone who
has an interest in the art area. To express their interest to the world, they post theirs photos or
videos of that particular interest to their followers or anyone that has access to their profile.

Other than expressing their interests through photo-sharing, artists use this as a way to reach out
to their followers to get them to most likely spread the word about them (the artist) and advertise
their work or products, just like businesses and companies. But, how does individual artists use
Instagram or any social media platforms to promote their work?
There are many ways for individual artists to use social media networks to promote their
work. But the question is: how do they do it? To start off, lets use photographers as an example.
Photographer is a person who practices in photography or in other words, a person who makes a
business of taking pictures. They can use any social networking websites to advertise their work
to everyone but the best way to do it is on Instagram, a photo and video sharing app. Instagram
allows photographers to upload photos of their photography skills and share them to followers
and those who can see them. In order to advertise or promote their work, photographers can add
captions to their pictures that can be straightforward telling their followers to check out their
work. It can catch a users attention to check out the photographers photography skills and may
ask that photographer to do a photo shoot. Another great way is to add hashtags in the captions.
Adding hashtags, which should relate to the picture you posted, is a great way to get new
followers to find and follow you. It helps with advertising your work to everyone and may lead
to a fan base dedicated to you if your photography becomes popular.
Its no surprise that social media is becoming a marketing strategy for businesses,
companies, and individual artists. With social media continuing to grow more successful and
popular, and creating more new social network sites or apps, companies and individual artists
will most likely continue using social media to promote their products or works. Teens and
young adults are usually the ones active in social media, so using platforms like Instagram or
Facebook for promoting products is a great way to build sales for companies since they usually

aim for customers around that age range. Model(s) I can suggest for photographers to use to
promote their work is to upload their own pictures on a regular basis, promote your website or
blog that contains your photography, and most of all, keep it professional. Ive never had
experience with using Instagram to promote my work but using this social media app will be a
good way to market my work, and most importantly, helping me start my photography business.
In my opinion, I believe that using social media for advertisement is a great way to drive sales
for businesses and attracting new customers.
As a reminder, this paper served to analyze my topic proposal, which was to explore the
far-reaching implications of social media. The purpose of this paper was to explore the
significance of the influence of social media with the help from the nine sources I collected prior
to writing this paper. In my new contribution to the sources, I talked about how individual
artists use social media to promote their work. In this contribution, I included businesses and
companies using social media for marketing strategies. I mostly talked about Instagram since it
was a small main focus to this research paper. I used photographers as an example on how they
would use social media, or more specifically Instagram, to promote their work. Even though I
couldve used other types of individual artists as an example (such as music artists), I chose
photographers because we have something in common: a passion for photography. The
importance of my new contribution is that with social media continuing to grow every day, it
continues to become a marketing strategy for businesses, companies, and individual artists. It has
also influenced many individual users, besides artists, to use Instagram or any social media
networks to promote their work.

The far-reaching implications of social media is an important topic that is widely talked
about today. Social media is a growing platform of communication and a wide variety of users,
especially teens and young adults, are using it daily. I believe that one should care about this
topic because of how social media continues to influence todays society, businesses, etc. By
understanding the impacts and influences social media continues to create, it helps people gain
more knowledge about this area of research. Today, researchers continue to research further into
social media and its influence to our society. There are many suggestions that can be furthered
researched into. For example, how are social media apps, specifically Instagram, continue to
influence other social media apps? If using social media as a marketing strategy can really
benefit companies and businesses? If I were to research into this area, there is one thing I would
like to know: is social media going to continue to be a popular trend in our society in the future?
We may not know if social media is going to continue in the future or if some new thing will
come up that will take over social media.
Annotated Bibliography:
Wendy Abbott, Jessie Donaghey, Joanna Hare, and Peta Hopkins (2013). An Instagram is Worth
a Thousand Words. Retrieved from Emerald Insight: Library High Tech News.

This article/paper describes the industry panel session that was hosted by Bonds
University Library. The panel discussed the topics about Instagrams rise to
popularity, engagement with followers, and the risks, limitation, and disadvantages of
using the app. The panel session included a professional photographer, an internet
marketing expert, a social media expert, a librarian and a social mediasavvy student

Gwenn Schurgin OKeeffe, Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, and Council on Communications and

Media (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Retrieved
from Pediatrics.

This article talks about the use of social media and how it has impacted on children,
families, adolescents, etc. It includes the benefits and risks of youth using social
media networks. Even though its not Instagram related, but it deals with the impact
that all social media networking services have on the youth population.

Rachel Reuben (2008). The Use of Social Media in Higher Education for Marketing and
Communications: A Guide for Professionals in Higher Education. Retrieved from Fullerton.

This article talks about colleges and universities embracing the idea of using social
media as a component for marketing. It includes several examples of social media
networks and how it plays a role in marketing. It also includes the concerns of using
social media for marketing and references to other sites on more about social media

Elena Caoduro (2014). Photo Filter Apps: Understanding Analogue Nostalgia in the New Media
Ecology. Retrieved from Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA.

This article focuses on the rise of photo filters and effect applications use on photo
filter apps, like Instagram. The entire article has a huge focus on Instagram since its
a good example of a photo filter app. This article aims to explain new directions in
the changing system of media.

Emilio Ferrara and Roberto Interdonato (2014). Online Popularity and Topical Interests through
the Lens of Instagram. Retrieved from Cornell University Library.

This article mainly focuses on Instagram and its popularity. The article talks about
these three topics: to understand human behavior dynamics, specifically users and
content popularity; the mechanisms of users' interactions in online environments; and
how collective trends emerge from individuals' topical interests. It includes statistics
and data on Instagram media dataset (likes, comments, tags, etc).

Amanda Lenhart, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, and Kathryn Zickhur (2010). Social Media &
Mobile Internet Use among Teen and Young Adults. Retrieved from ERIC.

This article is a research that talks about the use of social networking by teens and
young adults. It mentions how blogging has decline in popularity among teens and
adults since 2006 when the social media became a hit. It includes data and surveys
from June 26 to September 24, 2009 of 800 adolescents between the ages of 12-17.

Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and
opportunities of Social Media. Retrieved from Indiana University, Kelley School of Business.

This article describes and clarifies about what social media is. It describes the
challenges and opportunities of social media and divided them into specific categories
by characteristics: collaborative projects, blogs, content communities, social
networking sites, virtual game worlds, and virtual social worlds. It also includes ten
pieces of advice for companies if they use social media.

Richard Hanna, Andrew Rohm, and Victoria L. Crittenden (2011). Were all connected: The
power of the social media ecosystem. Retrieved from Indiana University, Kelley School of

This article deals with companies and organizations using social media as a marketing
strategy in an effort to reach for consumers where they live online. It offers a
systematic way of understanding online social media since companies dont
understand how to do it effectively and used the 2010 Grammy Awards as an
example. The article concluded with lessons on using social media a s marketing
communications strategy.

Jennifer Trang (2014). Assignment One Discourse Observations Analysis.

This observation notes include three separate observations, three separate days for at
least one hour, on my Instagram home feed. The observations includes a descriptions
of each posts by users on my home feed, whether its about their daily lives,
photography, etc. Included in this assignment was key terms with examples and an
interview with one of the actors from my Instagram home feed.