Having teens in the family, and access to their friends, is one of the greatest ways to obtain first-hand information from the young tech savvy crowd and learn about their behaviors on different social media platforms. While on a recent family vacation, I had a brief conversation with my step-daughter, who is 18 years old. She was talking about posting photos on Instagram. I thought it would be a great opportunity to ask her a few questions about how and why she participates in this community.
Here’s a glimpse of the uncut, somewhat raw conversation:
- You’re active on Facebook and Tumblr. Why did you decide to become a member of the Instagram community?
I got my iPhone first, then I was like, “Oh, okay, all my friends use Instagram, so I want to be there too.” You can’t look at people’s pictures unless you have the Instagram app. With Instagram, I can look at my friends’ pics. And, you can “stalk” other people’s pictures too. Like Facebook, you can see what everyone is doing but you don’t have to read status feeds. Instead, you can just see their pictures, which is so much easier.
- What types of photos or images do you share the most on Instagram?
I like to look at and share: pictures of my friends (with me), any kind of pretty scenery, artsy looking stuff (because everyone is a photographer), and cute animals. I don’t really share “any” type of photo, but some people do, and they know they have to use their privacy settings.
- Do you mostly share and interact with people you know from other social networks or are you meeting new friends?
I only share and interact with people I know from other social networks, or people I just know in general. It’s a lot different than when I’m on Tumblr. I will follow someone I don’t know on Tumblr, but I wouldn’t do this on Instagram.
- Are you interacting / sharing / commenting on photos posted by brands. If so, which brands?
I don’t follow brands and really don’t think I want to follow brands. Why would I? What would they post “Selfies?” However, I follow celebrities and musicians on Instagrams.
- Why do you and your friends like Instagram? What does it have to offer that’s different than other social media communities?
It’s a way to share your life and what you’re doing. And, it’s also doing something in your life and then going back to look at your memories. You can also easily scroll through your Instagram feed and see what everyone is doing. You don’t have to read captions (you could but I don’t) and you can get a good idea of what everyone up to. Sometimes, I just “stalk” my own Instagram. “See, look at these Fireworks at LBI.” (She shows me her Instagram photo, which was amazing by the way.) The filters are fun too. Depending on the picture, there is wide range of what you can do. You can select and edit your photos, add hashtags and tag people. It’s also connected to Twitter.
Overall, in the eyes of this 18 year old, different social network have different purposes. The photos she’s taking for Instagram are not photos she’s not putting on Facebook. As a matter of fact, here’s her take on posting photos to Facebook: “Now uploading to Facebook is not as cool as it used to be. When people we know post pics to Facebook it’s seems like they are trying to hard! Facebook is to talk to other people and to chat. It’s good for major projects because you can make a group with all of your classmates.” Instagram is where we go to share our photos.