The emergence of social networks has affected the development of the Internet towards integration, combining capabilities within a single, multi-user web platform. They enable people to communicate with friends, find new acquaintances of interest, and participate in discussions. In particular, image-based social networks such as Instagram currently have happened immensely popular. Over the past few years, it has become an integral part of people’s daily lives, which has undoubtedly changed the way they communicate, individual behavior, and social self-development.
The Self-Enhancement and Self-Verification Motives for Self-Esteem
The self-enhancement and self-verification motives have a direct impact on self-esteem. Particularly, self-verification implies people’s desire to create their image in others’ eyes, similar to how they see themselves (Adams, 2012). The self-enhancement is due to an increase in self-worth, the aspiration to protect, enhance, and maintain a positive self-image. Simultaneously, the level of self-esteem is associated with a person’s dissatisfaction or satisfaction with himself. Research shows that when individuals seeking to increase their self-worth are self-verified by other group members, their self-esteem and performance increase (Adams, 2012). Thus, the self-enhancement and self-verification motives, driven by others to see an individual as significant as they consider themselves, directly affect their self-satisfaction.
The Most Evident Motive on Instagram
The most evident motive on Instagram is self-verification since the desire for other people to see an individual in the same way as he/she represents themselves is the most common in this type of social network. In particular, research shows that when creating Instagram posts, users apply positive types of self-presentation and tend to choose similar aspects of their daily life (Kim & Um, 2016). They are guided by the fact that other people also see the best picture of their reality.
The Accuracy of Online Portraits of People on Instagram
Instagram posts have the highest degree of bias among all social networks, which in turn is reflected in the low degree of accuracy of online portraits of people. It is expressed in image editing, creating a culture of cultivation and polishing among this network’s users. Instagram creates life in miniature, and frequently, the owners of accounts themselves cannot define where the reality is and where the fiction of their online portraits is.
Influence on Individual Behavior and the Development of the Social Self
Social networks, in particular Instagram, have tremendous addictive potential and a significant risk of subjection. There are several reasons for it, one of which is the effect on the brain’s pleasure centers (Kim & Um, 2016). The person receives enjoyable emotions from approval marks; as a result, he/she has a desire to publish and receive a new positive response endlessly. The release of dopamine and serotonin entails biochemical dependence, expressed in more anxious individual behavior. However, research also shows that virtual communication leads to an increased sense of belonging to the social group with which they interact and better communicate (Kim & Um, 2016). As a consequence, it is expressed in the development of the social self.
The Positive and Negative Aspects Associated with Instagram
Social media is undeniably a significant technological advance that provides many opportunities. In particular, the positive aspects of Instagram include offering substantial potential for nonprofit organizations to spend on successful fundraising campaigns (Bhati & McDonnell, 2020). Negative aspects comprise fatigue of the brain due to working in a mode of a continuous flow of information. As a result, successive emotional impressions lead to stress for the organism.
To summarize, social networks, in particular Instagram, have changed the way people communicate, which become more virtual, apart from individual behavior, and the development of the social self. The desire to receive signs of approval from social groups induces biochemical dependence, which is expressed in more anxious individual behavior. However, virtual communication leads to an increase in the sense of belonging to a social group with which the individual interacts and better communication, which leads to the development of the social self.
Adams, E. S. (2012). Social behavior. In S. A. Levin, S. R. Carpenter, & H. C. J. Godfray (Eds.), The Princeton Guide to Ecology. Web.
Bhati, A., & McDonnell, D. (2020). Success in an online Giving Day: The role of social media in fundraising. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 49(1), 74–92. Web.
Kim, S., & Um, N. (2016). Recognition in social media for supporting a cause: Involvement and self-efficacy as moderators. Social Behavior and Personality, 44(11), 1863-1877. Web.