One of the effects of social distancing and staying at home is spending more time online. After all, if you can’t fully interact with the actual world, why not do more interacting with the virtual one? In this world of quarantines and closures, let us examine today’s word, instagramification.
Even if you don’t know the term specifically, you more than likely understand the sensation from virtually any social media outlet. Defined as ‘the immediate gratification that an Instagram user feels when their phone displays the notification that ‘somebody liked your post,’’ and first explained on Urban Dictionary by the user Yolstar on 15 June 2011 (“…….when she saw her phone displaying a “MrCisternStroker liked your post” notification from Instagram. She finally experienced the instagramification rush which then restored her to her former happy no suppositories required demeanor’’).
The term itself is a portmanteau of Instagram, the photo and video-sharing social media company launched in late 2010 (now owned by Facebook) and the concept of instant gratification, which is itself a compound word representing the idea of immediate satisfaction. Probing a bit deeper, gratification, from the Latin gratificari, meaning ‘to please or do favour to’, was first used in the sense of satisfaction by John Florio in his 1598 work, A Worlde of Wordes (“Gratificatione, a gratification), while instant, derived from the Latin instans, was first used in the sense of ‘immediate or coming without any interval’ in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 from 1598 (“I fear the power of Percy is too weak to wage an instant trial with the king.”)
Given, we all know the feeling of elation when our social media posts get “likes”, but the term is also starting to filter into the business world. A recent trend among start-ups who have migrated from the digital to the brick-and-mortar world – companies like Away, Warby Parker, and Melody Ehsani – involves the creation of location interiors utilising brightly painted walls, catchy slogans, and nooks decorated with props which act as bait to attract Millennials and Gen-Zers seeking artsy social media posts. They also provide the additional benefit of free social media advertising for companies.
The trend here is to be noticed for workspace design and, for some companies, to create ‘instagrammable’ workplaces in an attempt to attract new millennial and Gen Z talent.
Of course, while instagramification can be a good feeling, there are downsides. Numerous studies have shown that, social media gratification can be addictive and increase feelings of jealousy and inadequacy. Rather ironically, it may also increase feelings of sadness while decreasing an overall sense of well-being. Like many other aspects in life, instagramification has its place and can be beneficial, provided that it’s not one’s sole source of gratification.