Instagram creates ‘insta-fun,’ but can lead to ‘insta-problems’ when overused

The past month has seen the rise of Instagram, an iPhone app advertised as a “fast, beautiful and fun way” to take and immediately share photos with followers.

The app is indeed an enjoyable pastime, but if used excessively, can become a twisted addiction.

The types of photos users share on Instagram can be easily observed by a quick scroll through the app. These range from heart-meltingly adorable photos of dogs and younger siblings, to more provocative photos with seemingly as much skin crammed into them as possible.

Despite all of this, individual photos are not a problem with Instagram. However, the fundamental pressure it places on users to continually post photos is.

The core purpose of the app is to encourage users to self-promote even more than they would on Facebook. Rather than mere informative posts, users are literally sharing themselves with the masses.

A sense of moderation is required to avoid the time sink Instagram creates. Without it, a user can potentially spend hours taking ‘selfies’ in every bathroom they enter. It takes a bit of reflection to realize there is no obligation to post a daily picture if a user does not want to.

In addition, the ease with which one Instagram account can follow another provokes the question of exactly how many people can see posted pictures. Every now and then, an random account will follow a user, along with thousands of others, under the veil of anonymity.

If students are advised to be aware of who is seeing their words on Facebook, they should be doubly aware of who is viewing their bodies. They may never know the intent of the unknown viewer, which may turn out to be quite nefarious indeed.

Of course, posting a single, meaningful picture every few days turns Instagram into a healthier hobby than countless meaningless ones. The “fun” of the app can be emphasized when photos are taken more sparingly, as well as shared with a limited number of followers.

As the weather heats up, Instagram users may feel even more compelled to post photos than usual. This needless stress, and even the possible dangers that may follow, can be easily avoided.

Students currently posted on Instagram should simply enjoy their vacation, rather than fret about their careers as professional photographers.