There is good on Instagram, and you can find it!
In today’s digital age, social media platforms have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives, influencing the way we connect, communicate, and even conduct business. Among these platforms, Instagram stands out as a powerhouse, and is most likely the icon that you tap the most.
Instagram’s influence on our lives is impactful, but not always positive. This is something that we all know and battle with on a daily basis. Many studies have shown that there is a direct link between the frequency of Instagram use and mental health issues. It is incredibly easy to find resources that discuss the harmful effects Instagram has on both young and matured minds alike. In fact, there is an abundance of negative information out there in regards to social media. However, in typical Studio 5 fashion, we are going to focus on the positive and discuss a few ways that social media is benefiting your life without you even realizing.
Although you may have a love/hate relationship with Instagram, I asked a group of women to tell me all about their “loves.” After hearing from these women, it quickly became clear that scrolling on the app isn’t just a huge waste a time. In fact, it often became a blessing in disguise. Here are 11 diverse benefits that Instagram offers its users.
Let’s Be Friends! (Even Though you Live Halfway Across the World)
The most common answer when I asked these women why they love Instagram was… you guessed it… COMMUNITY! Instagram connects people all around the world. What used to consist of writing letters that would sometimes take months to get a response to, has now turned into a quick swipe to open an app and you see that cousin Jill in North Dakota just bought a new dog and named her Scout. Or Sophie, your high school best friend, just got a job as a labor and delivery nurse. It’s an incredibly easy way for you to announce your own life updates as well so that your friends can stay informed on what is new with you!
The circle of people we know and care about has widened because there is no longer a distance barrier. You can stay connected to whomever you would like, even if you haven’t been able to see them face to face in years. It’s beautiful!
Celebrating Others and Honoring Achievements
Instagram gives you the opportunity to highlight and celebrate others. You can wish your spouse a happy birthday, which then snowballs an entire comment section of well wishes and positive words. Emi Frahm, an Instagram user, has found this to be a very meaningful feature of the app. She said,
“Posting pictures and memories for friends and family member’s birthdays has been a fun way of remembering cherished moments together and letting them know how much I still value their relationship in my life. It’s a way of connecting and reaching out that doesn’t take much effort on my part, but always brings nostalgic conversation and a smile to my face. In a world where we are always so focused on what everyone else is doing right and what we seem to be doing wrong, I hope I can always be better at focusing on the relationships that I can continue to cultivate, instead of the comparisons to be made.”
A common complaint many people have with Instagram is that it can become a comparison trap, or a highlight reel of everyone’s “best” moments. Emi combats the comparison with compliments. She contributes positivity to the platform by sharing WHAT she loves about THE PEOPLE she loves. It’s one of the most heartwarming aspects of Instagram, and it uplifts the entire community.
Connecting and Teaching Through Generational Gaps
In an era where technology often widens the generational gap, Instagram provides a unique opportunity for parents to bridge that divide. By embracing the platform, parents can not only connect with their kids, but also teach them about responsible digital behavior and online etiquette.
This is something Kimber Cutler does so well. While scrolling Instagram, Kimber saves things she sees in a folder she titled “Share With Kids.” She saves all the genres – inspiring, funny, courageous, sweet, spiritual, crazy, sports, etc. She saves anything that is family appropriate and uplifting. Her kids know this folder exists and gather around her in eager anticipation to see what she has to show them. Not only does it allow for her to connect with her kids in a way that is relatable and fun for them, but it also provides the opportunity for her to teach positive social media behavior. Kimber said,
“It gives us an opportunity to have open conversations about how the algorithm controls what you see. You need to be in charge of what you’re watching on there because the algorithm will keep showing you that same stuff. Choose wisely what you watch, save, send, and like. Choose the good content so it shows you more of it. Do not waste your time on less than wholesome videos because it will only show you more of that. [By spending time on Instagram with my kids], we can see the click bait videos and talk about them, practicing and exercising our self-restraint muscle together.”
A New Age Parenting Tool
Gone are the days when parenting guides and forums were the only go-to resources for parents. Instagram has emerged as an unconventional yet effective parenting tool. By following parenting experts, child psychologists, and family influencers, parents can access a wealth of advice and parenting hacks that cater to their specific needs.
But it’s not just for parents. Instagram doubles as a tool for grand-parenting, god-parenting, aunt-ing and uncle-ing. Karen Doty has found it especially useful as she’s entered what we call “The Nanahood.” She said,
“Even though my children are grownups with children of their own, I like to keep up with what they have to manage as parents, as well as understand what my grandchildren are up against in the world.”
For Karen, Instagram allows her the opportunity to stay in-the-know with new parenting trends and challenges. She feels like it makes her a better mother and grandmother.
Instagram is a thriving marketplace that empowers individuals to launch and grow their businesses. With the advent of Instagram’s shopping features and business profiles, entrepreneurs can showcase their products or services and connect directly with customers.
This has been Holly Davis’ experience. She is the owner and founder of Mauve Jewelry Co. – a business and brand that specializes in elegant, unique jewelry.
Holly never expected to turn her hobby into a job. It wasn’t until she created a business Instagram account (which was free and essentially had no barriers to entry) to showcase some of her designs that she realized she could pursue her passion full-time. Holly said,
“I can truly say that [Instagram] has allowed me to live my dream as a business owner, and I am so grateful that I live in a time where this kind of platform exists! It is such a powerful way to create your own income and community, and it is so empowering what it has allowed small businesses, stay-at-home parents, and self-employed individuals to achieve. In many ways, it really enables you to take your income into your own hands in a way that no other job can.”
Elevate the Mundane Through Creative Inspiration
The mundane becomes extraordinary through the lens of creativity, and Instagram is the perfect platform to witness this transformation. Instagram serves as an endless source of inspiration that encourages users to find beauty in the ordinary.
You can style your daughters’ hair for school in a fun braid-twist after seeing a tutorial on Instagram. You can try a new recipe for family dinner after your favorite influencer shared the how-to. Instagram is where inspiration is found, and user Addison Doxey agrees. She said,
“I find so much motivation and creativity through Instagram, such as new ways to organize my house, inexpensive dupes for popular clothing items or beauty products, book recommendations, and new skills that I want to learn! Instagram is such a fun space to foster pre-existing passions and even develop new ones. And you get to discover and create alongside others with similar passions, so you feel like you have a fun community of friends behind you!”
A Space for Sharing Beliefs
Instagram has transcended its visual nature to become a platform where voices are amplified, and beliefs are shared. Users can use their profiles to raise awareness about social issues, advocate for change, and connect with like-minded individuals who share their passions.
Instagram allows us to see a plethora of political, social, and religious opinions, which some users find overwhelming. It once weighed on Instagram user Alyssa Gamble. She said,
“The past few years, I’ve had a hard time seeing and feeling the greatest divide to ever happen among humanity. In so many aspects – politics, parties, religion, etc., who is wrong and who is right? More often than not, this creates a division among society because we may feel different, we may compare, we may see social media skewing reality.”
After severing as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a pandemic where social media was the primary way for her to connect and teach others, she had a change of heart. She saw the potential the platform has to spread positivity and goodness through posts, captions, or stories. She said,
“I started thinking…What am I doing for good? There’s enough bad. I started wishing that I could do something that would unite and bring people together. I sometimes feel like my effort is similar to the widow’s mite. It is small in the grand scheme of things, but I know that a small sliver of light in a dark world can help. Distance has no bound for the influence of light. It takes a mere 134 milliseconds for it to travel the distance all the way across the world. If my hopeful, scripture-based, or Christ-centered posts can give just a sliver of light to someone, it is worth it.”
Instagram gives its users a platform to preach what they believe. So like Alyssa said, it’s imperative we preach positivity and goodness. It gives you an opportunity to spread light, so spread it!
Laughter as the Best Medicine
I believe we could all benefit from a little bit more laughter. In a world that can often feel overwhelming, Instagram’s lighter side offers a much-needed escape. Memes, humorous videos, and relatable content abound, providing users with a daily dose of laughter and levity.
Haley Burningham is a proponent of Instagram’s silly side. She says,
“It’s like a small break from the stress and busy-ness of life. I am inspired and in awe by people’s creativity and cleverness and will happily consume and benefit from their humorous creations. Life can be sad, why not laugh sometimes.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Staying Informed, One Post at a Time
News spreads like wildfire on Instagram, making it a valuable source of real-time updates and current affairs. By following reputable news outlets, journalists, and influencers, users can stay informed about global events and social trends. You are no longer limited to what you can read in the morning paper or watch in the evening news. Our knowledge and awareness of the world has expanded.
Kathrine Bennett recently noted just how significant this Instagram feature is. She’s found that the app gives her more of an opportunity to see under-reported but important stories that maybe other news outlets aren’t telling. Kathrine said,
“A great example of this was when the media was flooded with hour-by-hour updates on the missing Titan Submersible. Meanwhile, there was a boat full of refugees that sank in the Mediterranean, leaving 200-500 people missing, presumedly dead. The latter received almost no attention. I heard about it through different news platforms on Instagram, but received no updates through my news apps. I decided to share one of the posts about it on my Instagram and was shocked by how many responses I received from people who had no idea this happened because the majority of media was focused on the Titan.”
Instagram, when used honestly, can be a valuable resource for those who want to stay informed and up to date on some of the world’s most important events. And I’m thankful for users like Kathrine who help spread stories that need to be heard but are under-reported.
Building Community Through Shared Trials
Life’s challenges are made more bearable when they’re shared. Instagram provides a platform for individuals facing similar trials to come together, offer support, and share their experiences. Whether it’s dealing with health issues, loss, or personal struggles, finding a supportive community can provide much-needed solace.
Annalee Fuller started experiencing pregnancy complications in the second trimester, and her daughter was born 11 weeks early. She felt very alone and worried about the future. Annalee started sharing updates for friends and family, and through it found support. Annalee said,
“I found a much larger community waiting to share hope, advice, and love. I connected with hundreds of other moms who had gone through similar experiences and even made some close friends online. This community gave me so much support when I needed it, and now I get to share hope for other moms by continuing to share updates on our healthy and happy 8-month-old girl!”
Digital Journaling for the Modern Age
Instagram offers a modern twist to the traditional art of journaling. Through captions, stories, and photo collages, users can document their daily lives, milestones, and reflections, creating a digital time capsule to look back on in years to come.
This is one of Sarah Bodine’s favorite features. She said,
“I love using Instagram to help me with my journaling. I have my account hooked into Chatbooks, so the more often I post memories, I get them sent to me in a book. It’s so easy and a great way to keep memories alive. I also make large family scrapbooks. Sometimes I am months behind on those but am able to pull up memories from my Instagram account and quickly remember dates, places, details, and people from family activities.”
Instagram has transcended its initial purpose as a photo-sharing app to become a versatile platform that offers a myriad of benefits. However, it’s essential to approach this platform mindfully, using it as a tool for growth and connection, and not as a distraction. Let Instagram enhance your life, not distract you from it.
It’s clear that from strengthening family bonds and aiding in parenting, to fostering entrepreneurship and offering creative inspiration, Instagram has firmly established itself as a powerful tool that enriches various aspects of our lives. There is a good side to Instagram. Find it and use it!