You are what you post?
Social media has become center stage in many of our daily routines.
Wake up: look at Instagram
Go to the bathroom: go on YouTube
Trying to fall asleep: watching Tasty videos on Facebook
It really never ends - we are constantly immersing ourselves in the online world. Despite the channel, online consumption of content is a 24/7 process. This leaves us, as consumers, in a vulnerable position to be targeted with ads or even be exposed to content that can be mentally triggering.
Another study was recently published showcasing this reality:
"Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that those who logged the most time during the day on popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube were more than twice as likely to have eating and body image problems, according to the study. Other studies have shown that people tend to selectively post pictures on social media that make them appear thinner, perpetuating distorted views of the human body, University of Pittsburgh researchers noted."
As I was navigating Instagram and searching for eating disorder related terms, I found a significant volume of hashtags and accounts that have over a million posts. A lot of these hashtags are either specifically related to the type of eating disorder or eating disorder recovery.
What I found was interesting, and also beneficial, was that Instagram shows this screen before you click through the hashtag:
Kudos to Instagram here - providing support for those who need it, and attempting to create a positive space.
A lot of these posts are coming from Instagram users that are holding themselves accountable in their recovery journey, which is great. You see a lot of support and inspiration coming from others who are struggling or are recovered, helping those struggling.
However, on the other side of this positive support, is a hidden culture where some people encourage behaviors in their posts. The language and the messaging can be triggering to those who are struggling and trying to become recovered. It would be interesting to see if Instagram would monitor these types of posts, considering they have a warning screen before you click through specific hashtags. I think that due to the volume of posts, there is only more room for support from the platform and other brands online.