Instagram is one of the most popular photo-sharing apps available to users the world over. It allows users to upload photos taken on their phones or indeed their digital camera and to apply various filters to “improve” the look of the photo as well as giving them space to add a description. People who follow a given user can “like” the photos or add comments. Other users may well see the photos if one’s account is set to public through the app’s search feature, via hashtags associated with a given photo or when a third party comments or shares a photo. The site was launched in October 2010 and was acquired by social media site Facebook in April 2012. It is estimated that more than a billion people use Instagram.
Researchers in Indonesia were aware that the most active age group on the app are the 18- to 34-year-olds. Moreover, the new users coming to this online realm tend to be teenagers. Writing in the International Journal of Business Information Systems, the team explains how they have analysed Instagram activity and modeled the results to ascertain what broad topic areas are most commonly used on the app by teenage users. They looked at almost active 500 accounts over a three-and-a-half-year period and found that two main categories stuck out in the analysis – school and relationships, with the latter, relationships, being by far the predominant topic.
Earlier research in Indonesia has shown that despite popular opinion, teenagers generally make use of social media apps, such as Instagram, in a relatively sensible way and that internet use, in general, does not lead to lower educational grades. However, there remains a need to understand the way in which the youth utilize the various apps available on their mobile phones and other devices. Critical to growth and good mental health may well be a clearer understanding among educators, parents and guardians, policymakers, and the social media companies and their app designers.
Rakhmawati, N.A., Valianta, T., Hafidz, I., Pratama, A., Ridwandono, D. and Annisa, L. (2021) ‘What is inside the mind of teenagers on Instagram?’, Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp.224–235.