Organisation: InstaSharing Is Not That Instant

  January 15, 2024   Read time 5 min
Organisation: InstaSharing Is Not That Instant
Even when following different motivations, many users seem to carefully organise their photosharing. For an effective organisation of photosharing, photographic style, following time bands and frequency of sharing have been observed as the main techniques followed by those users who want to enhance the visibility of their accounts.

Patrizia, an Italian girl in the middle of her 30s, uses Instagram for private purposes and shares her account only with close friends. Her photosharing clearly does not aim to archive visibility, but is limited to the private exchange of photographs that are usually selfies and new outfits. However, her photosharing visibly contains images that are both unconventional and particular, whose content makes her say: ‘Oh my God! This photo is for Instagram!’ For example, she once published a photo of her and her friends. They were all dressed in black and some of them had red polish and red lipstick. In a photo taken during the night, the red polish and red lipstick stood out. The photo that she captured was shared using the hashtag #fucknormality, precisely to highlight her interest in sharing unconventional images.

As can be seen, the decision to upload the photo on Instagram came afterwards, because producing well-thought photosharing is more important than the rapidity of the action itself. This is the reason why, Michela, paying more attention to her followers, tries to photograph more images that are interesting and that make sense even for other users.

Following a functional organisation, it has been observed that the many users follow three types of organisation: time based, of regularity and content related (Serafinelli & Villi, 2017). The time-based organisation is related to certain time bands of photosharing. The regularity of organisation is about establishing a routine of uploads (e.g. X per day, week or month). The content-related organisation follows a precise photographic style (e.g. themes, storytelling and particularities). Many users relate their use of the platform in combination with other activities, and this makes the use of Instagram a routinised activity itself.

This practice creates in the followers a state of expectation and regular habits. As an example of rituals, Nicola, an Italian web-marketing consultant in his middle 30s, mentioned P. F., an Instagram user, who does a lot of tourism promotion. Every morning she posts a photo about the sea or an area close to her location, giving a ‘good morning’ to her followers. So, in the morning, very often, Nicola waits for her picture because it has become a kind of ritual. She told him that, very often, when she is late and she does not post her good morning picture on time, people start asking about it.

This is an example of time-based organisation of photosharing. Regarding the content-related organisation, it can be observed interest in a thematic organisation, such as pets, colours and objects; or styles such as street photography, minimalist photography, urban photography, black and white, storytelling organisation and the research and unconventional scenarios. As an example of this, Michela once photographed a road sign in Milan. It was the Corso di porta cinese (Chinese door street). Above that road sign there was another one written over with Corso di (the street of), and then next to it there was a door, then a ‘T’ and then a Chinese guy standing there. She shared it on Instagram because it was an unconventional road sign and made her laugh.

Another strategy that the majority of users follow is related to the time-based organisation of photosharing. Emmanuela, an Italian young blogger and social media expert, uses Instagram for both work and entertainment, using different accounts. In both cases, her photosharing is well planned. She does not share more than one photo per day. She always finds something to say because everything is finalised to say something in her photosharing. She hates photos taken without any goal. This is the reason why she always wants to narrate something. Content-related organisation is not related to every single photo, rather the entire stream of images needs to present a sense of continuity in order to make the fruition of the photosharing fluid and visually pleasant.

Some Instagram accounts present a proper visual storytelling and others show continuity in terms of photographic style. ‘Personal visual diary’ can be observed as a type of visual storytelling that includes, for instance, the narration of special events and/or achievements. Indeed, several users consider their photo stream the visual version of a traditional diary, in which their photographs of objects or unconventional scenes alternate the photos of events. In addition to the development of a photographic styles and themes, storytelling emerges as a common way to organise visual contents that, taking the form of a personal visual diary, shares fragments of personal narrations.

Another common way to organise contents can be observed in the search for visually unconventional scenes. Accurate Instagram planning can include unusual imageries. Owa, for instance, a German woman working as a statistical researcher, is a loving mother and a passionate Instagram user. She is part of two different groups of Instagramers based in Berlin (Igers Berlin and the Happy Family, see Chapter 2). She defines her photosharing under the category of urban photography. The majority of her photos are black and white and portraits of people with cityscapes and urban views as background. In relation to the contents of photosharing, she believes that photos on Instagram should not simply be a perfect copy of buildings and structures (due to her love for urban scenarios) easy to find on Google. Rather, she prefers to see a personal touch, an object or a colour that stands out among other Instagram accounts.

For many users, the fruition of unconventional scenes is related to cultures, traditions and countries. They consider images that show traditional buildings, local food and local habits to be interesting for others. Emmanuela, for example, s a proud Italian, shares the hidden gems of Puglia, suggesting people to have a walk with her to enjoy the scenery.

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