If you’ve ever used Instagram, you’ll know that it’s easy to get pulled into obsession very quickly. However, as one of the most popular social media apps today, Instagram isn’t necessarily bad — in fact, it can be a useful part of student culture.
It’s a common sight on the University of Saskatchewan campus — a student snapping a picture of someone or something they like, then immediately bending over their phone to swipe through and compare potential filter options to make it even more “like”-able. Minutes later, that photo is posted on Instagram, to be enjoyed every time one of their followers opens the app for a quick scroll between classes.
Clearly, Instagram has found a home within student culture. If your family and friends happen to live elsewhere, Instagram allows them to live in your moments just as if they were with you. Reconnecting with friends takes on a whole new level, due to the ease of weekly #throwbackthursday posts. Plus — who can deny it — playing with filters on your latest selfie is just plain fun.
The photo sharing app has managed to differentiate itself from other social media giants like Twitter and Facebook while still remaining successful. In September 2015, Instagram was reported to have around 400 million active users, and climbing.
Soon after Instagram’s first-year anniversary in 2011, a Globe and Mail article written by journalist Ivor Tossell discussed its rapid rise to prominence. Tossell pointed out the app’s cherry on top — those irresistible filters. This aspect of Instagram allows us to make even the worst of pictures look uniquely beautiful, which feeds directly into the millennial desire to present an edited, perfected version of life on social media.
The filters have evolved drastically since that article, but the appeal still remains. Think about how many times you have taken a quick picture and then spent the next 10 minutes deciding which filter would make it look best.
Instagram has undeniable appeal for social networking, or even for procrastinating, but students can benefit from the app as an informational tool as well. The single frame, scroll-through platform offers a unique way of educating. Many post-secondary and even secondary institutions have accounts. As many students are glued to their social media apps already, these institutions have realized that embracing and utilizing these apps is an effective method of communicating with students in a way that engages them.
U of S students have plenty of useful accounts to choose from. For example, @usasklifehacks posts cool tips about making your time on campus a little easier. Not all students know that you can check out almost any course syllabus at ocw.usask.ca, or the pros and cons of U of S secure WiFi versus the guest account. All the inside information is available on this Instagram account. Unfortunately, they don’t post very often, but when they do, their life-hacks are worth the wait.
Want to keep up with your favourite campus club or student society? Many of them have active accounts that keep their followers up to date regularly. For example, find out what the U of S Students’ Union executive is doing for undergrads by following them at @ussuexec.
Perhaps you’re thinking of enrolling in a different college one day. See if they have Instagram! The College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, as an example, can be found at @usaskpharmnut, where they post about upcoming events that students can partake in.
For a broad overview of what’s happening on campus, follow the university’s official account, @usask. Not only does following them provide reminders about events on campus, but you can also learn some interesting trivia about the U of S and find some Instagram-worthy shots of our campus — no filter necessary to make those look beautiful.
The next time someone asks if you should be studying, show them how Instagram is making your student life a little easier. Don’t feel bad about using Instagram socially as well. Like, filter and follow away — #noshame.
Image: Jeremy Britz / Graphics Editor