Today’s information society has become reliant on consumer production. The concurrent emergence of advanced mobile technology and media networks that use consumer content are defining a new type of media ecosystem- social media.
Taking the “Instagram” iPhone app as a case study, I spent my final four months at Cambridge researching the motivations for photo-sharing on a mobile platform. The research required a month of using the app everyday, a close ethnography of a London Instagram meet-up, and 25 open-response surveys. It was quite exhausting, especially in such a narrow research time frame! But the reward is a set of invaluable data which challenges popular critiques of social media (i.e. Instagram users were not lazy about their production, but obsessed with details in crafting their images) and presents a vivid portrait of contemporary social media users.
I have prepared a 5 page executive summary that is available for download directly below. The full document is at the bottom of the page.
The full 80 page dissertation: