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“It’s like we’re all competing to make the best computer screen saver and the winner gets crowned most authentic”: An investigation of the idea of authenticity on the photo sharing platform Instagram.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study aims to contribute to the understanding of authenticity on the photo sharing service Instagram by analysing the two accounts @satiregram and @socalitybarbie. The two cases make use of parody and satire in order to poke fun at the dominant Instagram culture, which is according to media characterised by a lack of authenticity. For this reason it is of great interest to examine how the two accounts @satiregram and @socalitybarbie challenge authenticity on Instagram through the platform itself. Moreover, for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of authenticity in regard to Instagram it is analysed which aspects of the idea of authenticity are challenged by two chosen cases. The research furthermore intends to provide a better understanding of the Instagram culture as well as the photo sharing platform itself.

In order to investigate the stated questions first of all the concept of authenticity in relation to media in general is discussed. The study then proceeds with introducing Instagram to provide a better understanding of the topic. Subsequently previous research on authenticity in regard to media before and within the advent of social media is presented. The theoretical framework begins by presenting the genres of satire and parody as well as the concept of counterculture as instruments of social critique. Furthermore, the concepts of authenticity contract, authenticity puzzle as well as authenticity scandal are presented. Moreover, a set of norms of Instagram is introduced. Lastly, seven characteristics of mediated authenticity are depicted. For the investigation of the stated questions the content of the two chosen contents is analysed. Moreover, two interviews with the creators of the accounts were conducted in order to obtain background information regarding @satiregram and @socalitybarbie. The gathered data is subsequently applied to the theories present in the theoretical framework. The study is concluded by a discussion on the findings, which amongst others includes the revaluation of the idea of authenticity on Instagram.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 103 p.
Keyword [en]
Social media, Instagram, identity, online identity, self representation, authenticity, mediated authenticity, authenticity contract, authenticity puzzle, authenticity scandal, parody, satire, Instagram culture.
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296967OAI: diva2:940389
Subject / course
Digital Media
Available from: 2016-06-21 Created: 2016-06-20 Last updated: 2016-06-21Bibliographically approved

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