Instagram is continuously criticized for its perpetual and blatant self-branding. Discussions around the network are dominated with associations to narcissism and exhibitionism. The partial view as a platform of endless opportunities for ostentatiousness shrugs off the app's alternative uses.
The insatiable timeline caters our sensory overload by feeding our virtual collective consciousness with desirable images, inaugurating the unspoken rituals governing our engagement practices. The platform is saturated with commercial organizations steeping users into commodifiable lifestyles to endorse their products and brands as well as established news and entertainment channels devouring its features, in exchange for greater circulation and readership. At the forefront of this digital realm is the continuous landscape of ego-driven posts, seeking validation and distorting realities.
Twitter currently holds the triumphant title for being able to shift discourse to the left and inspire online communities to move into action, although the stage is now shared. On the back of the Instagram-produced digital narcissism, an enlightened counterculture generation emerges. Users revised the stage into a digital pnyx; a site for democratic speech, promoting activism, humanitarian causes and spiritual awareness. The global connectivity Instagram offers awoke a movement; a seemingly leaderless revolution, with a consensus of aspirations.
Users like HighConsciousness, with a following of over 138,000, promote universal ideals on healthy lifestyles and inspire their followers to think critically on the topic and their own practices. SeekTheTruth's posts comment on social affairs and territory not trekked upon by mainstream media and in doing so has generated a following of 313,000 +.
Highly acclaimed spirituality author, Deepak Chopra expresses social networks as an "extension of the mind". If we adopt his position, we can begin to witness the influence enlightened users play in permeating our neural networks and psyche, with the flow of information and positive energy as they transcend boundaries of ethnicity, race and geography.
The enlightened generation users treat their page as a service to promote personal and collective well being, allowing for a global shift of mindless users, to mindful consumers of information. Awakened users harness the app to a positive creative network able to influence our emotional state and aid our healing in the modern world. Their presence and posts augment the virtual collective consciousness, enlightening other users in the process. As Chopra advocates, "society is moving in the direction of a planetary mind through the social networks".