7 Academic Studies of Instagram

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iStock

Every new technology has the potential to influence the way we communicate with others and how we see ourselves. Once our habits in the new technology get established, they are ripe for study. The social photo-sharing app Instagram is still relatively new, but research into its effect on our lives is already underway. Here are seven academic studies of Instagram, by their titles.

1. "#FUNERAL AND INSTAGRAM: DEATH, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND PLATFORM VERNACULAR"

How is social media changing how we mourn? This study, published in Information, Communication & Society, analyzed photos shared on Instagram that were accompanied by the hashtag #funeral. Some were selfies or group photos taken at funerals. There were also pictures of objects at ceremonies like vehicles, programs, or food, but rarely of open caskets or headstones. According to the researchers, the use of this kind of social media at funerals indicates a transformation of rituals of mourning, into a less formal and more personal form. While there have long been forms of memorializing the dead on different internet platforms, Instagram memorializing is distinguished by being very “in the moment,” and the “central aim of sharing funeral images is to signify and communicate presence … mourners are sharing photographs to create a sense of proximity, connection and co-presence with friends, family and acquaintances that may not be present.”

2. "WAR ON INSTAGRAM: FRAMING CONFLICT PHOTOJOURNALISM WITH MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY APPS"

What happens when photojournalists turn to Instagram-style images? A set of photos published on the front page of The New York Times in 2010 sparked a debate on this issue. They were taken on an iPhone using the Hipstamatic filter app by a photojournalist embedded with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. This paper, published in New Media & Society, examines the “technical, aesthetic, and ethical dilemmas that mobile app photography provokes about digital photojournalism.” According to author Meryl Alper, the highly-stylized look of the photos may have a truth-distorting effect, one that makes war look glamorous and hip. Another problem raised by the app photos is how the style of photos the media takes imitates those that soldiers themselves take, blurring the lines between the “objective” photojournalist and the “subjective” soldier.

3. "I'M GOING TO INSTAGRAM IT! AN ANALYSIS OF ATHLETE SELF-PRESENTATION ON INSTAGRAM"

Where athletes' images were once at the mercy of how the media portrayed them, they now have the ability, through social media, to do their own self-presentation in the development of their public image. This study of the Instagram feeds of 27 professional athletes from a range of sports, which was published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, found that despite conventional wisdom suggesting that men are traditionally framed with closer headshots for power and women from more of a distance, in their self-presentation, both male and female athletes tended to post photos that showed their full bodies. The selfie, which usually does not show the whole body, was seldom used. The captions and hashtags that accompanied the photos were also analyzed, and categories of post types emerged that covered themes like humanitarian, family driven, dedicated athlete, and endorser.

4. "FROM #MCDONALDSFAIL TO #DOMINOSSUCKS: AN ANALYSIS OF INSTAGRAM IMAGES ABOUT THE 10 LARGEST FAST FOOD COMPANIES"

Companies are still figuring out the best approach to public relations on social media, especially in so-called “crisis” situations. This study, published in Corporate Communications: An International Journal, looked at negative hashtags about fast food companies on Instagram to analyze how they were used by the public, and how they were responded to. The researches searched for strings like companynameFAIL, companynameSUCKS, and companynamePROBLEMS. Most posts were from customers complaining about service issues. Very few had to do with the food. (Many Starbucks complaints were about names being spelled wrong on cups.) One quarter of the negative posts were from employees complaining about their work environment. The companies in question had very little engagement with or monitoring of such posts, and are advised to “put Instagram next to Facebook and Twitter at the center of their social media strategy and crisis communication plan.”

5. "USING INSTAGRAM PICTURE FEATURES TO PREDICT USERS' PERSONALITY"

This study, published in MultiMedia Modeling, aimed to see whether the way Instagram users used filters to change the look of their photos was related to their personality traits. They had participants agree to allow access to their Instagram accounts and asked them to fill out a personality questionnaire. They analyzed the personality features against image features and found various correlations. For example, the personality trait of openness to experience was correlated with more saturated, vivid colors, and also less inclusion of faces and people in the photos; the trait of neuroticism correlated with higher brightness levels; extroversion tended to correlate with more blue and green colors, rather than red and orange.

6. "INSTAGRAM: MOTIVES FOR ITS USE AND RELATIONSHIP TO NARCISSISM AND CONTEXTUAL AGE"

This study, published in Computers in Human Behavior, used a survey of college students to examine the reasons why they use Instagram, and how it relates to narcissism and contextual age (a sort of measure of where you are in life with respect to life satisfaction, interpersonal relationships, and social activity). The researchers found that Instagram is used mainly for four things: “Surveillance/Knowledge about others,” “Documentation,” “Coolness,” and “Creativity.” Surveillance was the reason most correlated with the amount of time these students used Instagram. Coolness and Creativity were the reasons most correlated with amount of time editing photos. The amount of time spent editing photos was also significantly related to narcissism.

7. "SOCIAL MEDIA AND LONELINESS: WHY AN INSTAGRAM PICTURE MAY BE WORTH MORE THAN A THOUSAND TWITTER WORDS"

This study, published in Computers in Human Behavior, aimed to see whether image-based as opposed to text-based social media was more likely to relieve loneliness because of the greater intimacy and feeling of “realness” for pictures. Using surveys, the researchers found that image-based social media did seem to be associated with a decrease in self-reported loneliness. Loneliness was highest among those who used no image-based social media. The use of text-based social media alone did nothing to reduce loneliness: “If anything,” the researchers wrote, “increased use of text-based media may exacerbate loneliness.”

10 of the Best Indoor and Outdoor Heaters on Amazon

Mr. Heater/Amazon
Mr. Heater/Amazon

With the colder months just around the corner, you might want to start thinking about investing in an indoor or outdoor heater. Indoor heaters not only provide a boost of heat for drafty spaces, but they can also be a money-saver, allowing you to actively control the heat based on the rooms you’re using. Outdoor heaters, meanwhile, can help you take advantage of cold-weather activities like camping or tailgating without having to call it quits because your extremities have gone numb. Check out this list of some of Amazon’s highest-rated indoor and outdoor heaters so you can spend less time shivering this winter and more time enjoying what the season has to offer.

Indoor Heaters

1. Lasko Ceramic Portable Heater; $20

Lasko/Amazon

This 1500-watt heater from Lasko may only be nine inches tall, but it can heat up to 300 square feet of space. With 11 temperature settings and three quiet settings—for high heat, low heat, and fan only—it’s a dynamic powerhouse that’ll keep you toasty all season long.

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2. Alrocket Oscillating Space Heater; $25

Alrocket/Amazon

Alrocket’s oscillating space heater is an excellent addition to any desk or nightstand. Using energy-saving ceramic technology, this heater is made of fire-resistant material, and its special “tip-over” safety feature forces it to turn off if it falls over (making it a reliable choice for homes with kids or pets). It’s extremely quiet, too—at only 45 dB, it’s just a touch louder than a whisper. According to one reviewer, this an ideal option for a “very quiet but powerful” heater.

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3. De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heather; $79

De’Longhi/Amazon

If you prefer a space heater with a more old-fashioned vibe, this radiator heater from De’Longhi gives you 2020 technology with a vintage feel. De’Longhi’s heater automatically turns itself on when the temperatures drops below 44°F, and it will also automatically turn itself off if it starts to overheat. Another smart safety feature? The oil system is permanently sealed, so you won’t have to worry about accidental spills.

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4. Aikoper Ceramic Tower Heater; $70

Aikoper/Amazon

Whether your room needs a little extra warmth or its own heat source, Aikoper’s incredibly precise space heater has got you covered. With a range of 40-95°F, it adjusts by one-degree intervals, giving you the specific level of heat you want. It also has an option for running on an eight-hour timer, ensuring that it will only run when you need it.

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5. Isiler Space Heater; $37

Isiler/Amazon

For a space heater that adds a fun pop of color to any room, check out this yellow unit from Isiler. Made from fire-resistant ceramic, Isiler’s heater can start warming up a space within seconds. It’s positioned on a triangular stand that creates an optimal angle for hot air to start circulating, rendering it so effective that, as one reviewer put it, “This heater needs to say ‘mighty’ in its description.”

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Outdoor Heaters

6. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy; $104

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Make outdoor activities like camping and grilling last longer with Mr. Heater’s indoor/outdoor portable heater. This heater can connect to a propane tank or to a disposable cylinder, allowing you to keep it in one place or take it on the go. With such a versatile range of uses, this heater will—true to its name—become your best buddy when the temperature starts to drop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater; Various

Hiland/Amazon

The cold’s got nothing on this powerful outdoor heater. Hiland’s patio heater has a whopping 40,000 BTU output, which runs for eight to 10 hours on high heat. Simply open the heater’s bottom door to insert a propane tank, power it on, and sit back to let it warm up your backyard. The bright, contained flame from the propane doubles as an outdoor light.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Solo Stove Bonfire Pit; $345

Solo Stove/Amazon

This one is a slight cheat since it’s a bonfire pit and not a traditional outdoor heater, but the Solo Stove has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon for a reason. Everything about this portable fire pit is meticulously crafted to maximize airflow while it's lit, from its double-wall construction to its bottom air vents. These features all work together to help the logs burn more completely while emitting far less smoke than other pits. It’s the best choice for anyone who wants both warmth and ambiance on their patio.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater; $119

Dr. Infrared/Amazon

You’ll be able to use your garage or basement workshop all season long with this durable heater from Dr. Infrared. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in fan to keep warm air flowing—something that’s especially handy if you need to work without wearing gloves. The fan is overlaid with heat and finger-protectant grills, keeping you safe while it’s powered on.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top; $86

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Mr. Heater’s clever propane tank top automatically connects to its fuel source, saving you from having to bring any extra attachments with you on the road. With three heat settings that can get up to 45,000 BTU, the top can rotate 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle of heat you need to stay cozy. According to a reviewer, for a no-fuss outdoor heater, “This baby is super easy to light, comes fully assembled … and man, does it put out the heat.”

Buy it: Amazon

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15 Deals on Apple Products and Must-Have Accessories

Apple
Apple

Apple users are a dedicated bunch—once they have one Apple device, many of them buy into the company's tech ecosystem for life. But it's a pricey trend to keep up with, especially if you're into bells and whistles: the $5999 base price for Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro, for example, can skyrocket up to $53,000 when you dress it with every upgrade. Rest assured, you don't have to spend quite that much. Here are 15 Apple products you can buy today without the high price tag.

1. Apple Ipad Air 2 64gb - Space Gray (Refurbished: Wi-Fi Only); $345 (13 Percent Off)

Apple

You can score all the perks of high-end tech without the high-end cost when you shop refurbished. This Apple iPad Air 2 (which has a near-mint refurbished rating) delivers all the apps, games, and content you love on a 9.7-inch Retina display with 10 hours of battery life.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

2. Wireless Charger for Apple Airpods and Phones; $17 (66 Percent Off)

Musubo

Bring your iPhone and AirPods back to life by simply setting them down on the wireless 5W Qi charging surface. You'll never have to untangle cords again.

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3. Iklips C Apple Lightning/Usb-C Flash Drive (256gb); $219 (26 Percent Off)

iKlips

As the world’s first Apple MFi-Certified USB-C and Lightning Flash Drive, this Kickstarter-funded flash drive can manage, transfer, and even encrypt your files. It conducts automatic data and photo backups while your phone is charging and even includes an app for managing files, recording videos, and taking photos.

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4. Triple Dock: 3-In-1 Apple Device Charging Station; $68 (13 Percent Off)

Oakywood

This charging dock has two major perks. First, the obvious: its absolutely beautiful, natural oak wood finish. Second, it can charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously with convenient features like a magnetic hold, nightstand mode, micro-suction tape for one-handed operation, and more.

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5. Apple Watch Wireless Charger Keychain; $20 (59 Percent Off)

Go Gadgets

This pocket-sized magnetic ring will wirelessly charge your Apple Watch while you’re on the move. After all, isn’t access to your digital life anywhere, without interruption, what the Apple Watch is all about?

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6. Apple Magic Keyboard With Numeric Keypad - Silver (Certified Refurbished); $100 (23 Percent Off)

Apple

This A-rated certified refurbished Magic Keyboard has an extended layout featuring a numeric keypad, document navigation controls, and full-size arrow keys. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery so you can go up to one month between charges.

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7. Apple Magic Mouse 2 Bluetooth Rechargeable - Silver (Certified Refurbished); $55 (31 Percent Off)

Apple

Track easily and encounter less resistance with this certified refurbished Magic Mouse 2. It has a handy Multi-Touch surface for easy swiping and scrolling.

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8. Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch 64gb - Space Gray (Certified Refurbished); $480 (12 Percent Off)

Apple

This deal will score you a fully laminated, anti-reflective, LED-backlit, and touch-sensitive Retina display, powered by an Apple A10X processor with 64GB of memory storage. All of that fancy tech will allow you to watch videos and browse the web on the go.

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9. Apple Macbook Air 11-inch Core I5, 4gb Ram 128gb Ssd - Silver (Refurbished); $559 (6 Percent Off)

Apple

If you’re working remotely these days, you need a laptop with tons of battery life, speed, and a quality display. This refurbished 11-inch MacBook Air will take you nine hours before needing a charge and functions smoothly through all of your multitasking with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM.

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10. Apple iPad 4 9.7-inch 32gb - White (Certified Refurbished) Bundle; $220 (55 Percent Off)

Apple

The 9.7-inch Retina display on this iPad 4 is simply a joy to look at. When you’re done shooting off emails, you can quickly transition into binging your favorite shows and movies, thanks to the Wi-Fi connectivity and 32GB of storage.

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Apple

Upgrade your older phone to the iPhone 8. This refurbished device delivers the perks of the recent model at a fraction of the price, and it's packed with 64GB of storage, so you'll have plenty of space for your photos, videos, and games.

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12. Apple iPad 4 9.7-inch 16gb - Black (Certified Refurbished) Bundle; $135 (32 Percent Off)

Apple

This certified refurbished iPad 4 bundle also comes with every accessory you'll need, including a cable, screen protector, power adaptor, case, and stylus.

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Apple

With more than enough storage and top-of-the-line graphics, the Mac mini is the ideal starting block for your desktop computer setup. Once you've got your hands on one of these, you're free to pick your own monitor, keyboard, mouse, and any other accessories you may need.

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Apple

Get the Super Retina HD display and dual 12 MP cameras that Apple’s iPhone X is known for, but at a steep discount.

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Elevation Labs

The MagicGrips for Apple Magic Mouse 1 and 2 help give you a more relaxed grip while at the computer, so you'll avoid the discomfort that normally comes with browsing for hours on end.

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Prices subject to change.

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