Young, hopeful, 13-year old Danielle was pumped when her mother finally allowed her to download her first ever social media app! Deprived of a Facebook account or a smartphone, 8th grade Danielle believed that getting Instagram on her Ipod Touch was about to change everything. My initial yearning for an account admittedly stemmed from my peers. My mom had always been pretty strict about technology and online accounts, and I was devastated to be seemingly left out-of-the-loop. This was at the forefront of my reasoning, but also I really did enjoy taking pictures of my friends, my dog and nature, and was intrigued by the concept of editing and filtering photos. Mostly I wanted the world to at last see, that I too had an interesting and fun-filled life.
My mother made sure my emergence into the social sphere was still somewhat controlled. She stressed that my account be private, meaning I would have to personally approve each person who requested to follow me. Often my mother went through my list of followers, questioning me to assure that I knew each person. I no longer have her scrolling through my account, yet I’ve remained picky about which followers I accept, allowing only people that I am at least pretty familiar with.
Who Can View and What's New?
My instagram audience, personally selected, is comprised of various groups of people. I have new college friends, friends from high school, past teammates and castmates, sorority executives, my aunts, grandma, and cousins and other family friends. When I am posting a picture, I always keep in mind the close friends and family that will likely be viewing it. I need to make sure that Grammy D. will enjoy and approve of my post. It is hard to imagine how I come across to the people who are viewing my profile without all the context that I have. I attempt to portray my true values, my sense of humor, my passions and my personality through my Instagram. I believe that through my photos, one can find the activities, people and experiences I love and value.
Post Analysis 1:
My most recent post captures many of the aspects I am trying to portray. This semester, have been taking a ballet course. As cheesy as it sounds, for this 80 minutes of ballet, I feel like a graceful princess. I come away from each class clear-headed, feeling happy and strong. I don’t experience this particular feeling at many other points throughout the week, so those 80 minutes on Mondays and Fridays are very special times for me. I asked a friend to record me doing a run-through of our new routine so that I could see what it looked like from an audience perspective. I thought I was executing the number fairly well, but I wanted to see if the video would match up with the vision in my head. I meticulously watched the video, moving frame by frame through each step. I paused the video during the moment of the swan lift and started screenshot-ing because I was pleasantly surprised by the magical moment. Immediately, I sent it to my mom and started forcing all my friends to look at it. Then, I decided I wanted to show all my instagram followers too.
Dance is a beautiful method of storytelling, and I think this picture can tell a lot about my story. Initially, the viewer is probably drawn to the visual appeal. Looking more closely, you will notice my face and my body language give insight to the emotion of this moment. I am feeling strong, confident and graceful and I have a huge smile on my face. It’s clear I love what I’m doing. My friend Jack is the one assisting me in the lift. Putting up this lift together shows the special, intimate work I get to do with my classmates that is unique to a dance course. I build credibility with the dance studio in the background and the traditional uniforms. My hair is up in a bun, I am wearing a black leotard with pink tights and my pointed toes are in pink ballet slippers. Jack is in the standard black tights and black slippers expected of male dancers. The pose suggests that we are experienced and slightly advanced. I also touch on this in my caption, where I use logos. Typing “#studentathletes” and using the flexing muscle emoji draws attention to the strength and skill required to execute this move. In this picture we see someone who loves dance and teamwork. Also we see someone who values beautiful art as well as strength and fitness.
Another thing I communicate via my instagram posts is my hope to be a well-rounded person with connections in multiple networks and with various interests. The second post I analyzed focuses on an alternate part of my life, Gamma Phi Beta! This sorority means a lot to me. It gave me my best friends, we get to work with the great Girls On the Run philanthropy and I get to experience both social, formal, and community events with these inspiring ladies.
Post Analysis 2:
This picture was taken at a recent Sisterhood Event; a trip to the Coyote Drive-In. It was a night spent snuggled in a trunk with four of my closest sisters, joking and laughing through the entire Maze Runner movie. I think pathos is the most apparent appeal in this picture. The smiles on our faces, our hands held together and our big, squishy hug show we feel happiness, comfort, and deep friendship. A more slight detail which contributes to ethos, is the fact I’m not wearing any makeup in this photo. I can be completely myself around these girls, and they will never judge me. I’m so thankful to have this type of friend around me. The caption also proves our bond in a credible way. I playfully wrote: “Caught on camera: Shelby embracing human contact when the flu is going around #shockedandamazed”. This is a reflection of how close I am to Shelby. I’ve learned she has a huge fear of getting sick and is always extremely cautious when there are germs going around. I know her well and I can poke some fun at her in this loving way. The location serves as another appeal to ethos. The tagged venue: “Coyote Drive-In” shows that my sorority and my sisters are so important that I came to the event, even on a busy school night. We all prioritized the time to be with each other for this fun occasion. The location tag can also count towards logos, because it is a plain piece of evidence showing where we are. The organization that brought us all together, and brought us to a memorable night at the movies, is a logical feature that can be spotted peeking out from the tangle of arms. You can see the greek letters of Gamma Phi Beta that Shelby is proudly sporting on her fleece.
Far from home, this sorority has given me a place and people to belong to. I am also so thankful to be part of such an impressive group of women and a sorority that has done so much for my college experience. This photo definitely includes many things that are dear to me!
It's About What I Like NOT the Like Button!
My posts are pretty diverse but there is a consistent theme. The two photos I analyzed are with different people, from different groups at different events, yet both capture important passions of mine. The ballet photo evidently displays an appreciate for dance, but looking deeper reveals hints of strength, art, dedication and trust. The post from the Sisterhood retreat focuses mostly on love and friendship but also belonging, involvement and acceptance. The images I share online reflect what makes me happy and the attributes that define who I am.
Scrolling through my instagram, even to my oldest posts, and looking at my pictures brings a smile to my face. As I reached older, more embarrassing photos, I noticed my continuing persona was established at the very beginning. A picture with a homemade giraffe-head and another with a photobombing man in the eye of a gingerbread mascot, showcase my happiness, goofiness and love for Christmas, creativity and friends. My recent posts are surely more mature, but they still show my same spirit. From New York City, to my dog, Jake Browning, coffee shops, to goats and best friends, my profile is filled with vibrant snapshots of achievement, joy and love. The version of myself I put online is positive and polished but also imperfect. I’m not the type to take 1,000 pictures for the sake of getting one flawless shot. If I end up with a nice picture that is personally meaningful and makes me smile, it is qualified for Instagram. After looking at two posts with an analytical eye, I realize that when I am inspired to post, I don’t only enjoy the look of the image, but the passions and values it embodies.