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Photography in Social Media Essay

In theory, social networks can be used to boost confidence and make a person feel closer to his or her peers in their social lives. Teenagers in this day and age no longer live in a world of handwritten notes passed back and forth in class. They are living social lives on a completely public forum. The youth of this generation have the access to take a picture of anything they wish and have the ability to post the picture to any social networking site for the world to see. With technology advancing, it is becoming easier and easier to document life through technology and can be done as simply as a flick of the wrist. Photography has had a significant impact on the social lives of today’s youth.

To understand this impact on the youth, people have to look at the evolution of photography. The history of photography dates back to 1000 A.D., when a man by the name of Alhazen invented the pinhole camera (Bellis). Ever sine this marvelous invention, the art of photography has grown. When the ability of taking pictures was first introduced to the world, few people could afford it so in the beginning it wasn’t very popular. Today, it is seldom heard of that a household does not own one or more cameras. The way technology has advanced over the years, most cell phones today even have cameras built in them. As a result of the growing popularity the physical camera advanced to meet the demands of its new found audiences (Bellis). Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are guaranteed to have millions of visitors daily. With all of these visitors, advertisors have an excellent place to do what they do best; advertise.

They do this by selecting a photo that is appealing to a particular audience and providing a brief description on how that photo relates to their product or services and how the reader could benefit from this. How the picture is displayed is crucial to the overall benefit of the advertisement so it is imperitive that a good photographer is used in order to make sure the photo is as attractive as possible. Advertising is the best way for businesses to reach out to the youth in order to make a profit and keep the economy flowing as smoothly as it can. Although advertising through social media is not the only way to do it, it is the most common and most effective (“The Social Media Advertising Ecosystem Explained”). Clearly picture advertisments are needed on social networking sites to keep the sites funded while selling a product to keep the businesses funded.

Photo editing is a crucial step in the creating of the final photograph. It is required that a photographer has basic knowledge of photo editing if one wants to be successful. The most important part of a photo shoot is the work it involves after the photos have been shot! Post processing photo editing has become the anthem for many professional photographers (“What Is Photo Editing?”). To achieve above work standards, the photo editing professionals have to use the correct software. There are many different kinds of software that have been introduced for professional editors. Photo editing gives people the ability of re-sizing and cropping their picture, changing the exposure and contrast of their picture, special effects and many more features depending on the editing software. Photo editing is a beautiful process that can remove unwanted blemishes and any unwanted objects from digital photos (“What Is Photo Editing?”). A photo editor is in charge of what the final photograph will look like. If the editors are successful, the photo will appear to be un-edited, but will display a beautiful flawless image. Photo editing is an essential part of photography.

Once the photos have been edited, it opens up many possibilitys on the web. There are multiple social networking sites that use photography and photo editing as their main purpose. Snapchat, Instgram, and Tumblr all include photography in social media. All of these social networking sites impact the social lives of today’s youth. The users of these sites are allowed to judge the other users photos by virtually “liking” them or writing their own opinions on the photo by leaving a comment on it. This can be subliminally considered a social ranking to teens who are looking for positive attention. This is one way that Social Media impacts the lives of today’s youth. A big impact on today’s youth is snapchat.

Snapchat is a new way to share moments with friends. Snapchat is a photo messaging application developed by Stanford University students. In addition to photos, a short video can be sent. Snap an ugly selfie or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend or maybe a few. They will receive it, laugh, and then the snap disappears forever. The captions in the videos and pictures can only be as long as the screen is wide. If a user would like to fit more text on the screen, they would either tilt the device sideways so the text bar is longer, or write the words using the draw tool on snapchat. The color of the pen can be changed. Account users take a photo, send it to someone and ten-seconds later it has disappeared forever. No saving them, no forwarding them on. The app is designed to capture a moment and share it in an impermanent way, like speech.

The image might be a little grainy, and users may not look their best, but that’s the point. It’s about the moment, a connection between friends, and not just a pretty picture although in the newest udpate filters were added so now editing is even allowed on Snapchat. On average, about 20 million snapchats are sent a day. Snapchat has a big impact on the social lives of today’s youth. There are multiple types of social networking sites that deal with photography and impact the social lives of today’s youth significantly such as, Instagram. Many teens and adults post images to a social networking site called Instagram. Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Many teens and adults post pictures to Instagram using simple editing tools such as filters to give their photos more of an “artsy” feel (“Picture to Pedophile”). “Instagrammers” post any photo they wish to display in the hopes of getting a multiple number of “likes” on that particular photo. It is almost like a social ranking in the teen social life.

Sometimes photos are of the places they have been, or the things that they desire, or the food that they are consuming, and sometimes of themselves. Pictures on Instagram of the account creator are called “selfies”. The problem here is that the photos are very publicly available and are assigned to their user account (Picture to Pedophile). With teens living their social lives on a completely public forum, parents need to inform their children about privacy settings and internet safety. Instagram greatly impacts the social lives of today’s youth. Simply put, Tumblr is an image blogging site. With over 15 billion page views a month, Tumblr is a very addicting site to teens and youth in this day and age. Tumblr users post interesting photos, videos, and other media to their followers, who can then share it with their followers as well. Tumblr has played a significant role in shaping an individual’s identity and personality towards themselves and society via photo representation.

The Tumblr environment has remarkably transformed the perspectives of adolescents’ own appearance and is one of the main contributors for the desire of teenagers to conform and stick to what is supposedly the norm of the status quo. Tumblr’s heavy emphasis on visual media, therefor, Tumblr is a photography based site that significantly impacts the social lives of today’s youth.

Seeing as these personal photos are being publically broadcasted across the cyber world, many dangers come into play. “Catfishing” is a form of identity theft in which an online user is not who they claim to be. They steal pictures and try to represent the displayed person in order to gain something. This has become such a big issue recently that producers at MTV have made a TV show about noticing the signs of a person claiming to be someone they are not. As soon as a picture is posted online, it can be stolen and used by anyone who can view it. Once a picture is online, it is no longer private, even if the owner is unaware somebody else is using it. Online safety is a big issue when it comes to personal photographs (“Picture to Pediphile”).

As the prevalence of online social networking grows so do psychologist’s concerns aboutInternet communications and its overall effect on adolescent social development. For example, while positive feedback on a photo would most likely cause a boost in self esteem, a negative type of feedback would contrarily do the opposite and cause a decrease in self esteem. Although a self esteem boost seems like a good thing, it can also have a negative effect on a teenager. “Too many compliments can all go straight to their ego and eventually it will be so big there will not be any room for their original personality.” A harsh case of criticism will also end up with negative effects as well. Cyber bullying is a major contributor to depression in young social networkers. The publicity and freedom of judgment on these uploaded photos can have major effect on how a young person feels towards themselves and how they act. This is one of the most important ways that photography impacts the social lives of the youth.

While social networking does indeed have an effect on the youth of today, the photography that is involved with social networking plays an even bigger role in how the youth is effected. What would Facebook be without profile pictures and photo albums and the critics who judge them in the comment section? Would there even be Instagram or Snapchat? How would a teenager get the much needed self-esteem boost from a friendly compliment on a recently uploaded photo? Photography in social media and it’s effect on the youth is much larger than what most people realize.

Works Cited
Bellis, Mary. “History of Photography and the Camera.” About.com Inventors. About.com, 05 Mar. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

“The Social Media Advertising Ecosystem Explained.” Business Insider. N.p., 8 June 2013. Web. 6 Apr. 2014. .

Munni, Rokaiya Y. “What Is Photo Editing?” Photo Editing and Photoshop Clipping Path Services What Is Photo Editing Comments. N.p., 1 Aug. 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. .

Birdsong, Toni. “Picture to Pedophile: The Danger of Instagram and Kik Messenger.” McAfee Picture to Pedophile The Danger of Instagram and Kik Messenger Comments. McAfee, 4 June 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. .

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