In 2012, Instagram was created as a new form of social media centered around picture sharing; however, now Instagram is considered one of the most negative apps in terms of mental health. In an interview for the Walpole Film Festival Documentary, Hung Up, Donna Freitas, author of “The Happiness Effect” spoke about the competitive nature of the app, as users unconsciously compare themselves to others in terms of likes, comments, and engagement.
“People only put up their most beautiful pictures—you never see the downside. Whenever I go online, it’s like the worst version of me versus the best version of everybody else,” Freitas said.
Serving as an online platform for constant comparison, Instagram creates a pressure to accumulate the highest amounts of likes, followers, and comments—all signs of twenty-first century popularity. This norm does not apply to all Instagram users. At Walpole High School, many users have taken back social media in an attempt to share their passions, instead of self-promoting.
Some students have chosen to express the most authentic version of themselves through photography and art accounts while others have opted for everything from beauty and fashion to positivity pages.
These WHS students and alumni below have channeled their individuality to design a media outlet that serves as a platform for their creativity.
Senior Rylee Abbott uses Instagram to share her healthy and beautiful meals on her account @good.goodfood .
“I started the account mainly as a place to store my countless number of food pictures and it turned into an account that shared easy, inexpensive, and yummy snack ideas that were also good for you.” Rylee Abbott ‘18
Caroline Crawford uses Instagram to share experimental makeup looks and tutorials on her account @caroliinemua .
“I started another account to express myself through my makeup in a way that was separate from my real life.” - Caroline Crawford ‘20
Ellie Kalemkeridis runs a photography and blog through her Instagram account @ellievsworld.
“I had posted them on Facebook before, but I felt like I could reach more people on Instagram and share my photos with other travel accounts.” - Ellie Kalemkeridis, Alumni
Walpole High School graduate Jamie Ferguson uses Instagram to work on her photography skills and share techniques with her followers.
“I originally started the account as a place to promote my professional photography, but I decided I’d rather use it as a place to express myself creatively rather than for work purposes. I’m not necessarily trying to run a successful account with a lot of followers—it’s more of just a platform for sharing my work and following other photographers who inspire me.” - Jamie Ferguson
Photography club president Hailey Lowenstein shares her photos on her account @hslowe7photos.
“I was fooling around with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop while I was editing some pictures that I took with my DSLR camera, and I thought it would be a cool idea to make a separate Instagram to post them and see what other people thought.” -Hailey Lowenstein ‘19
Ellie Hilty posts photos of her artwork on her account @eleanorhilty_art to get feedback from followers and find potential customers.
“I didn't intend to sell anything when I first made the account—a friend of mine just really liked a painting I did and wanted to have it for herself. It's an amazing feeling to have something transform from a hobby into a mini business.” -Ellie Hilty, Alumni
Spreading positivity through Instagram, Lauren Gelly and Lindsey Sullivan ‘18 use their account @youshouldbeenice
“Our account uses little catch-phrases we came up with, like “bee nice” and “positivibee”, to remind our followers to be kind to everyone around them. We use the color yellow to brighten our posts and create a unified theme throughout our feed.” - Lauren Gelly and Lindsey Sullivan ‘18
Ryan Conlon uses his account @conlonart as a way to share his 3-dimensional art pieces.
“It’s hard in high school to store art, so to have a place where you can virtually see every sculpture or piece of art I make. So not only can everyone else see my art, but I can look back and see the art that I made especially the ones where I no longer have.”- Ryan Conlon ‘18
Claire Sullivan shares her artistic endeavors ranging from fashion design to painting on her Instagram @claire.ifi.cation.
“I decided to make a fashion page because I love to design and make clothes. The first clothes I made were from a stapler and curtain fabric and the last two garments I made was a floor length dress and a knee-length party dress.” -
Claire Sullivan ‘19
Danielle Borelli shares her art work with her followers on her account @danielleborelliart
“I made the account because I wanted to create a separate space solely for my art where I didn’t have to focus on followers, friends and likes.” - Danielle Borelli ‘18