Recently, a friend of mine posed a question to me about the phenomenon of photo sharing that we see running rampant on / with apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. He wanted to understand why we do it and what I make of this new mainstream ritual and what we as humans get out of it.
I think sharing photos is a way for us to share our collective experiences without the having to be skilled at using words. Just like we might use metaphor elicitation (e.g. having people create collages and bring in pictures) in market research to ask participants to communicate perceptions or ideas with pictures, I think photo sharing allows us to give others a deeper window into who we are by sharing images that represent what is important or meaningful or beautiful to them.
I believe that all human beings are seeking to find meaningful commonalities with others …to find and expand their circle of “we” by understanding and being understood. Images can share so much more than words…they carry memes and meaning that go without speaking and address higher order truths.
And in an emerging mainstream culture of creativity, where the ability to communicate creatively is currency, photo Sharing apps like instagram also allow even the least technically skilled of us to express ourselves artistically and use our social network pages as virtual refrigerators to say “look what I can do” for our whole chosen family to see.
I know alot of these reasons echo why I do it and from what I can ascertain about those who share photos in general it seems to be a common denominator.
I am curious what others think. Is photo sharing a just a narcissistic exercise or does it go deeper?
Feel free to share your thoughts in images. 🙂
- The Be List: Create Instant Art Using Instagram (beunltd.com)
- How People Communicate on Instagram (readwriteweb.com)
- Putting pictures with places (suntimes.com)
- How Instagram is Different From Pinterest for Marketers (spiral16.com)
- Three awesome mobile photo sharing apps (fotogenics.wordpress.com)