Digitalizing the Twenty-First Century

The Death of Distance

  • Instagram aids globalization in the digital age because the app allows people to look at photos and talk to others from around the world. 
  • Distance, therefore, does not matter because, with Instagram, I can view a concert thousands of miles away from my home and hold virtual conversations with the people who attended. 
  • Hashtags and geotags also aid in the death of distance as I can easily find and admire any spot in the world virtually.
  • Further, I can see what recently occurred in that area since Instagram filters their photos by time.

Digital Footprint

  • Instagram's software allows someone to manually check into a location. Therefore, one can trace exactly where you took that photo and possibly recognize patterns of where you hang out based on the frequency of your geotag.
  • However, they also geotag any photo you uploaded, typically without your knowledge. One sees this in the photo map, which marks the location of each photo even if you never officially "checked in." Although many make the map private, Instagram still records the data. This is a perfect example of recording everything due to doubt and could possibly have negative ramifications if you are caught somewhere you should not be or may positively assist others in finding a spot they wish to visit.
  • Digitization , therefore, creates a literal map of our social lives which may jog our own memory on specific locations or can possibly inspire strangers to go somewhere new, depending on one's exposure selection.

Polydirectionality and Exposure Selection

  • Instagram allows their users to decide how much is exposed and to whom. 
  • An account may be private and only available to those you approve. Although this is a form of one-to-many communication it is a exclusive group whom you allow to view the entirety of your digital footprint. 
  • There is also private messaging on Instagram that allows for one-to-one communication
  • This communication flexibility is pivotal in the digital age in order to protect our right to privacy.

  • Instagram accounts may be public with completely exposed digital footprints, thereby acting in a one-to-many direction.
  • For example, celebrities and companies address millions of fans on Instagram. This allows fans to feel as if they have a personal relationship with a celebrity and increases the celebrity's brand awareness.
  • Fan comments on the photos consist of the many-to-many communication as it allows millions of fans to connect with each other and form a community.

Network Externalities

  • Instagram's value clearly increased as it became THE photo sharing app. Without an online community, the app it would be useless. 
  • Instagram requires other users to fill your news feed, like your photos and provide new images for you to look at. Therefore, the more users, the more entertaining the app and more attention your photos get. This makes the app primarily a one-to-many communication tool, however, as seen it is polydirectional.
  • It is also worth mentioning that now that it has millions of users Instagram can increase their revenue with paid advertisers.

In Summary:

Through the power of digitization, Instagram shrank the world into a series of easily shared photos and videos. The popular app allows people to document and share their lives with millions people across the world, thus making distance irrelevant. One may live vicariously through strangers traveling in Rome or watch thirty second clips of Coachella at any time. The more people that join Instagram, the more we can view other's experiences and share our own. 

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by jmbramwell


Public - 7/12/16, 1:23 AM