Stories are ephemeral posts on the popular social media platform called Instagram. They are encased in tiny bubbles that users cannot resist clicking.
The charm, I would say, comes from the ability of these little posts to connect people, no matter if they are strangers or real-life friends.
I view Instagram Stories as special kinds of glasses. Using them lets me take a peek at how the others are doing, what are the highlights of their day, or what is their current mood. Somehow, they give me this feeling of being intimate or close to the person who owns the post, even if I barely know them. It is mind-blowing how they do that when sometimes; they are just photos of the coffee they are drinking, their sleeping spouse, or even random objects like shoelaces. These effects and the massive impact it causes us have triggered my curiosity and left me wondering: Why are Instagram Stories Addicting? What makes them great?
Instagram Stories was first introduced to people back in August 2016. Stories quickly amassed 150 Million users during its first year on the internet and even got its number doubled during the last three months of 2017. Now, every day, there are more than 500 Million people who interact with stories. These statistics came from the analytical company 99firms.
How did it manage to do that?
According to Dr. Raffaello Antonino, a counseling psychologist and the clinical director and founder of Therapy Central, “Instagram Stories work a bit like Netflix episodes, and just like them, we’re compelled to binge-watch. The fact that they’re quick makes it even more compelling to watch one after the other.”
It explains why we cannot close the Stories tab once we opened them. Combined with the allure social media already has, it is pretty understandable how Stories magnetize us and prevent us from leaving.
At a glance, you could say that feed posts contain so much more than stories. They can have better editing, captions, and tags. But why do people like stories more?
I believe the answer lies within the Stories’ simplicity. This quality of Stories makes them feel more honest compared with the well-manicured feed posts. Facebook has conducted a survey, and it revealed that people feel more authentic in stories. With stories, we feel freer to express our emotions. I would say that this is caused by the fact that Stories disappear after 24 hours on display. It makes our fear of being misjudged by others long after the post was made non-existent.
Another notable thing about Stories that separates it from feed posts is its nature of expressing instead of impressing. Feed posts are generally well thought out and are have the purpose of garnering attention. Feed Posts are made either as a form of advertisements or simply for receiving reactions called “likes” – proofs that a person or a business can go with what is trending. On the other hand, Stories are snaps of random objects or events in the day and have no agenda other than to say what a person likes in his/her day.
“Users can interpret Stories as lighter and more relatable. They’re less ‘threatening,’ making people more likely to tap through them,” Antonino said.
Long story short, Instagram Stories feel less curated so they are more believable, relatable, and enjoyable for the people.
Stories do not only allow you to see what others are up to. They can also let you see yourself. Unfortunately, it can be harsh sometimes, especially if you are very self-conscious.
I bet aside from viewing what others have posted, you also keep on checking who watched yours. Even with Stories' expressive nature, you cannot help but worry about how others see you through your posts. This behavior is explained by sociologist Charles Clooney’s Looking Glass Self Theory.
This theory says that we develop our concept of self from observing how we’re perceived by others. According to Antonino, “This has the potential to keep us stuck in a vicious cycle where we feel the only way to push our confidence up is to continue posting our ‘perfect’ projection of ourselves.”
This in turn makes us use story filters when uploading photographs of our self, so we can have a better appearance. At first, we would feel great about ourselves due to how good we look in the picture. It also adds to the excitement when others react positively to what we have produced. As reality sinks in, however, when we realize that it is not us that look good but the filter we used, we succumb to sadness.
This is how Instagram Stories contributed to the rapidly increasing rates of anxiety and depression.
“Children and adults of all ages have confided in me, sharing that they are ashamed of posting photographs of themselves without the utilization of filters,” says Dr. Leela Magavi, psychiatrist and regional medical director for Community Psychiatry. Some have also told her that they are considering getting plastic surgery. This is so they can improve appearance-wise which would mean they would not need to use filters anymore.
This is just another case of Body Dysmorphia Disorder, (the case wherein one has an obsession with a slight imperfection in his or her body) that is caused by the internet.
It is just saddening to see how something that was meant to be friendly and was supposed to be advertising positivity, like Instagram Stories, is being one of the causes of these mental disorders.
“Watching individuals’ stories can create false, transient feelings of connectedness, which do not and cannot take the place of speaking with and spending time with loved ones. Over time, this can create debilitating feelings of loneliness,” Dr. Magavi says.
For years now, many feared and grew weary of the addiction found on the platform, but in a miraculous stroke of luck, they found a way out. Yes, Instagram used their creative minds and growth-hacked their way into a blockchain-Esque onion layer that absolutely stops the infamous Instagram Addiction problem we've all grown to hate. Hopefully, other major media and social media platforms can learn from the genius found inside the walls of Instagram and can deploy their unique solutions to help reduce the global supply of mind games and psychological dilemmas found on the internet.
We do live in strange times, and strange times require strange thinking, and strange thinking results in strange solutions. Do the solutions technically or literally result in people getting less fixated on the feed? If the answer is yes, even if it's a sort of daft solution, then we must rejoice for we could potentially have saved many thousands of people's lives from the mental hole we humans often find ourselves digging in. Their solution is better than the last cure for online modern depression which was discovered that simply buying Instagram Followers helps fight online depression and fosters social validation and overall well-being.
It's amazing. And brilliant. It's genius. Let's delve into the details of how it works. You see, the issue as it was currently defined is that people, specifically Instagram followers, are addicted to the behavior of constantly scrolling up, or down, through the endless wheel of Instagram posts that make up their feed. So how do you get them to stop this? You create a sublayer away from this addictive, problematic area and get the users to hang out and enjoy their time there instead. It worked! People spend way more time in the Stories area now instead of the generic Instagram feed! We all know there is not enough time in a single day to get hooked on both! Now, everyone has two very, very different feeds of fresh content they have to cycle through, and it completely stops the complete reliance on the main core Instagram feed for all their users.
Even content creators, now have to split their time between focusing on the pictures that make up the majority of their feed and coming out with videos for their Instagram Stories to keep their audiences engaged. This is a solution of the greatest kind, as it solved the issue once and for all for both parties involved: the end-users and the content creators.
Now that Instagram is back to being a fully entertaining and responsible website, app, and safe space for people of all diversities, it's a time to lean back and celebrate what we've all achieved today. For millions of users, we have helped raise our voice and make the world a safer, better place for people of all races, sexes, orientations, genders, and mindsets! Many won't understand and certainly won't appreciate the stroke of mad genius that has happened to solve this dilemma, but one day they will. This will one day be treated and considered as the day social media collectively found a permanent and scalable solution to the very basic and predictable human problem.
Instagram Stories are great, it lets us connect with others, express ourselves, learn things and grow as a person. However, just like the rest of social media, Stories can impose both positive and negative effects on us. What happens to us relies on how responsibly we use these platforms, so as long as we balance them perfectly with real-life, we should be good.
Using Instagram stories as a tool to help force separation between ourselves and our traditional Instagram feed is such a profound benefit to society, they should initiate scientific studies to see how far down this error of human nature goes. How many other problems like this could we collectively solve just by hedging our bets and splitting our problem right down the middle?
Date: November 30, 2021 / Categories: Interesting, / Author: Joy P