Instagram, Entertaining the Masses


Single line drawing made by Alejandra Castaño during quarantine, inspired by Instagram´s account: @vibeline_.

Alejandra Castaño, Assignment Editor

It was Friday night and I found myself at home polishing my cooking skills; something I never imagined myself doing. I mixed the dry ingredients as the video says; flour, cocoa powder, and stevia. My kitchen window portrayed the dark and silent night quarantine had brought with it. Watching this made me think. Friday nights at home were usually to watch movies, but no, this one was different. It was a day for me to be locked up cooking. I asked myself what had made this occur; because, it was definitely something rarely seen in my life. 

For once, there was no one to meet and nowhere to be. Everything was “replaced”. Friday nights turned into cooking nights, and friends turned into Instagram; an app seen by many as useless, as time-wasting. Friends are those who teach, provide support, and make others happy. This is exactly what Instagram has caused during quarantine; it has turned into a friend. 

Covid-19 has made society feel the need to reinvent themselves in order to make their businesses flourish during the economic crisis many are facing. Instagram does not fall behind. It has made a twist and it has been used for different methods during quarantine. Laura Arias, a marketing expert, has an Instagram account that analyzes the methods companies use to reach their customers. She has seen a big change in how people are now using Instagram.

“I feel people are having the necessity to be productive during quarantine. Since many are not being able to sell their products they have been searching for different content that feels as more relevant to their customers,” Arias said. 

Quarantine has been a difficult experience for many; therefore, Instagram took advantage of the situation to turn into a useful tool to entertain people. Instagram´s overall idea is to post pictures and receive likes; something, of course, seen as useless. But, during quarantine, this mentality has changed. Instagram has turned into an app based on fast content, or “snack content”. This is an easy but valuable way to show or teach. 

This type of strategy has helped me a lot. I prefer to learn in an easy and visual way. During quarantine, this app has provided valuable ideas of ways to entertain society. My mornings usually consisted of checking Instagram to find my feed full of photos that only sought to receive likes. Now, my days have improved due to the content being exposed in this app. They are now full of activities and ideas that accounts in this app provide. 

Instagram pages like American Eagle have evolved to sell in a different way. Now, their strategy is to gain customers by creating entertainment on their page. Every day an influencer takes over their page for the day and they are in charge of teaching others what they are good at. The activities taught through this account have allowed me to discover and develop new talents I didn’t even know I had. 

“I feel all brands are worried about being productive, having relevance, and to make themselves known to others so that when we get out of quarantine people can remember what they did during this time,” Arias said. 

People are taking advantage of the situation by doing activities that will remain in the memory of others throughout time. It is hard to be locked up, without seeing anyone and having such a twist of the normal routine. This can easily unbalance feelings. In order to maintain peace and mental health, we must change our activities and surroundings. Doing the activities these accounts have posted on Instagram has saved my quarantine. It is a way to discover new hobbies or even redo some of those we forgot about due to the strict routines we used to have. 

“More than selling or having followers, the most important thing Instagram wants to achieve is to generate community,” Arias said. 

Secrets are being exposed. What has impressed me the most is that content creators are literally giving away what they know for free. Those recipes that used to be saved only between families are now exposed to the world. Classes that used to cost up to 50 USD are now given for free. Yoga, mindfulness, and exercise classes are now seen on live videos through Instagram. It all sums up to creating that community where we all help each other out. 

Quarantine has made me discover many things I did not even know I was good at. I have turned into a chef, an artist, and a dedicated practitioner of yoga. People on Instagram were able to make a twist and turn this negative experience into an enriching moment for all. At the end of the day, we are all in this together and we have the power to support each other out.