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Week 12: Favourite example of publishing; Instagram

May 29, 2013

The whimsically addictive Instagram is creatively infused into our everyday life and I admit…I post pictures of my food. I can’t help it – I just get a surge of pride when I cook an meal that is actually decent and an uncontrollable urge compels me to share it with the digital world.


Instagram is obviously a media platform to disseminate photos of the individual’s choice.

The data that is published are real-time and real experiences of individuals daily life, ranging from “selfies”, to food, to landscapes. It is an aggregation of data that ultimately produces a visual personality profile and digital identity. The data is disseminated from digitally devices eg. Phones, computers, cameras etc.

Edwards (2010) refers to ‘infrastructural globalism’ as “the world”  as a whole is produced and maintained through this interconnected infrastructure. With Instagram, the world is represented visually. It is a pictorial or a collage of society. You have the locality of your friends’ pictures (who you are following) then you can expand globally via the hashtags. Hashtags allow an aggregation of a specific type of data, where all pictures of food are group together etc. You can view the infrastructure through a global lens. Say you decide to follow one person from Spain who supplied a hashtag of food – you are retracting back to the local and creating your own personal public where although demographically displaced, that person is still in your local environment in a sense.

The only disparities between data sets or “data friction” that I can think of is when someone tags unrelated and pointless hashtags to their photos which ultimately creates confusion and a form of data friction as not all pictures that are tagged “delicious food” are actually delicious or food at all. Also maybe ‘fake’ profiles and fan-based profiles who aren’t the idolised person but they are still submitting similar photos.

It is susceptible to manipulation for the reason I just mentioned. Also when it is redistributed, the photo could have a new filter and new tags from a new person in a new public – ultimately creating a new set of data which could potentially clash with the original data. One data set can been varied by another individual and thus creating a new meaning for potentially the same type of data. Is this another form of data friction?

Edwards, Paul N. (2010) ‘Introduction’ in A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: xiii-xvii


Feel free to follow me on my favourite publishing platform Instagram, which may or may not be inundated with selfies and food pictures! 🙂


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