Upon deciding to focus on consumerism and the subsequent pressures on the expression of identity, I had to think about this could be related to my own impression of self. The most expressive outlet of self I have in my opinion would be my social media outlets, particularly my Instagram account, which serves as my own personal form of social media. Previously I did have a ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ Twitter account, where I would post more academic material from my professional account and more trivial remarks, however after a while I didn’t deem my personal account to be interesting enough to exist. It just appeared to be a stream of unconscious thoughts that could potentially be detrimental when linked to and compared against my professional account. So I deleted my personal Twitter account and kept my professional account, which I now use for research activity and to tweet content I feel is interesting academically. Instagram has become my own personal form of social media; my unconscious emotions have a definite influence on the material I post on this image-based social media. However I don’t feel a pressure to post lots of professional material on this social media platform, it is more a personal response to the events of my life.
As I am researching in preparation for my dissertation, Instagram is a really exciting, relatively new social media platform that is introducing a new form of expression to users that might have not engaged with previously. With camera phones and the Instagram app available to a wide number of the population globally, there has been a rise in the number of people using photography to represent their ideas and document their lives. The popularity of instant imaging however is not a recent phenomenon, before digital cameras a large population of the world favoured an instant film camera to capture their memories. Operating very much on the same principle as the camera phones of today, the instant camera offered a short waiting time, keeping people consistently engaged with the process of capturing and sharing their daily lives and special moments. The camera phone however not only offers the convenience of instant images, but it also allows for the instant sharing on the Internet. Most camera phones are smart phones, which means they can connect to the Internet using wifi or mobile data, meaning a picture rarely stays just on the smartphone. There is usually a direct pathway from the camera to the Internet through some sort of social media or other Internet platform. As I expressed in the previous paragraph, personally I believe my Instagram account is a stream of unconsciously made pictures which document my life. Therefore if most people use Instagram in the same way I do each Instagram profile can be considered as an authentic self portrait of that person, with each image, caption and hashtag expressing part of their personality.
As this is a project on the self, I won’t be using other people’s profiles to consider an authentic self, that is a concept I will continue to pursue in my dissertation. For this project I will use my own profile, however there is an issue with attempting to observe my own behaviour, from the moment I had an idea about using my own Instagram account I was no longer making unconscious material. I knew that I was going to be using my profile as an authentic self portrait, for this reason I have decided to only use images from before the data I decided to use my Instagram profile. This way I can make sure that I am choosing images that actually do represent a part of my personality and not that of a photographic student approaching a self portrait project. I collected the all of the images from my Instagram account previous the date when I decided to use my account as my project, and the captions that were posted with them in order to start deciding which images I should use.