- Sarah Trubert
Generation Z and Instagram: the change of aesthetic codes
Instagram has never been more in turmoil than recently, the social network has surpassed 1 billion active users monthly in 2018. But what is Instagram today? A portfolio of perfect framed, retouched and filtered images? The new generation Z is changing the game and asserting itself differently. Focus on the future of Instagram photos.
We all have photos of places, dishes, and looks called "Unstammable" in our smartphones. I am thinking of brunch, avocado toasts, white sandy beaches, downtown building doors, colourful walls. Today, everyone posts the same kind of photos. Some influencers sell their own filters to their followers. As a result, we see a standardization of the content published on the profiles.
Instagram has created standards of beauty, sculpted silhouettes and perfectly masked faces. Spending too much time on your feed can lead to complexes and questions about your body and style. Questions that should not be asked when we are on a social network.
This movement is very generational, today's teenage girls are taking things in hand. They want to differentiate themselves and display themselves in a more natural way. Less make-up and more relaxed clothes adapted to the seasons. It offers less uniform, more disorganized feeds, without filters or retouching. These young people highlight their personality by proving that being "cool" does not mean having a perfectly worked Instagram account. Some of them take the concept to the end and post photos that are the opposite of Instagram's "codes" with a good dose of humour.
Here are some accounts that dare to stand out:
These young influencers now have several hundred thousand followers, such as @ewww_its_joana, which has 449,000 subscribers, or @emmachamberlain, with more than 7 million subscribers.
And yes, tastes and expectations are changing. People are looking for more reality and authenticity. Some do not hesitate to tell their stories and engage in barrier-free community involvement on a variety of topics (mental health, stress, nutrition).
Should influencers react?
Some influencers see their number of followers fall each month. People no longer hesitate to unfollow from accounts that multiply partnerships with brands.
For them, it is also a question of mentioning paid partnerships with brands while knowing how to limit them. Users want to create a real relationship with the people they follow, they want clarity in the influencers' discourse.
Is the disappearance of likes a continuation of this phenomenon?
You may have noticed that the likes have disappeared from your Instagram account. Indeed, for a few days now the platform is in the test phase, Instagram users no longer have any visibility on likes in the whole region of Canada. This test phase aiming to hide the number of likes on the photos is intended to encourage users to focus more on shared content (photos and videos). However, it is still possible for users to see the list of people who liked the post. Instagram explains that it is only an exploration and that they do not always apply their tests definitively.
The platform aims to limit popularity contests by using likes and to guide users more to communicate with each other. This idea follows the trend that aims to be more real with more personal and less altered content. It will take a few more weeks to find out whether or not the platform will choose to hide the likes definitively in all regions of the world.
What does this mean for brands?
Brands are not excluded and must also follow this trend if they do not want to lose momentum. Users expect brands to offer more transparency. It is also about promoting a differentiating purchasing experience and delivering manufacturing details. Brands can also do this by organizing interviews, reports in formats such as IGTVs or stories that reveal the company's behind-the-scenes.
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