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Research articles

Vol. 1 (2023)

Selfie and World: On Instagrammable Places and Technologies for Capturing Them

May 8, 2023


Instagrammable places are designed to be photographed for Instagram. This leads to the homogenization and commodification of the world to suit the app’s affordances. It is worth asking why Instagram users are so motivated to play along when only a miniscule fraction of them can monetize their pursuits. I argue that Instagram and its accompanying form, the selfie, touch upon a basic human need for meaning-making: for narratively organizing one’s experience of the world, and reversely for performing a narrativized identity in a meaningful world. The app establishes what Don Ihde has called a hermeneutic and an alterity relation to the world, by superficially contributing to an understanding of the world based on one’s own co-constitutive agency of framing and selecting features of the world to be photographed and shared, and by performing this agency to an audience.