Instagram: It isn't just about the perfect #selfie

Posted on August 10, 2017 by Ash Ball

So it turns out Instagram, the photo sharing app, has just hit 700 million active users, but how many photos do you think are posted to the app every day?

a.)   800 thousand

b.)  5 million

c.)   95 million

It’s HECTIC but right now we are averaging 95 million photos every day (congrats to those of you who got it right). I found one website claiming that if we printed out the photos and placed them on top of each other, it would take 12 hours to reach the height of Mount Everest! Now you might be thinking that’s lot of #seflies and pictures of cute dogs, but what is it young people are posting? I had a parent ask me that exact question in a parent forum last week.

Jimmy Fallon taking  a selfie

Actually this post really began because last week I had what was meant to be a quick catch up with an old friend, which spiralled into a three hour conversation about social media. We spoke about everything from our favourite film clips to funny cat videos, but their main concern was that “social media has become a place to seek attention and Instagram is just an opportunity to post photos of ourselves.”

Working at PROJECT ROCKIT for the last three years I found this conversation to be the perfect opportunity to voice the opinions of the young people we work with.

We hear that Instagram is more than just a place to gain some instant gratification or validation; it can be creative, it can be funny, it can be supportive and a place where people can find the community they need. In fact, a student shared this comment in one of our workshops recently.

“I  love Instagram but not for why people might think, it’s not to post pictures of myself…I love art and love to post my passion for people to see” — YEAR 9 STUDENT

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a comment like this, we often meet students who’ve presented their passions on social media as a way to connect with like minded people. Beck Evans is the perfect example of this (check out the blog she wrote for us here). She may not have had support at school, but she found the support she needed online and ended up creating a whole community of people who shared her passion for special effects makeup. More recently I met a year 10 student who noticed that their newsfeed had become flooded with negative posts, so they set up an Instagram account designed purely to post positive content as a way to counteract the negativity.

We know that there is a superficial side to social media, but we’re hearing more and more from students that the online world can be the perfect place to express passions and provide support to others.

So yes, 95 million posts a day sounds like a lot, but it turns out these photos can hold a lot of power!

If I’ve learnt from that conversation with my friend and the young people we work with, it is that the online world is giving us new ways to create real change, awareness and understanding. That’s why we think it is important to encourage people, regardless of their age, to post their passions and create a positive online culture.

Can you imagine what would the world look like if we only posted our passions? It would be incredible!

And of course, there is no shame in taking a couple of cheeky selfies along the way.

Written by our lead presenter, Ash Ball.