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10 Reasons Why Instagram Is The New High School

10 Reasons Why Instagram Is The New High School

And here we had thought that high school was over; that we could make or break our lives without worrying about what others thought o us. Hardly had we anticipated the meteoric rise of Instagram, the new (and improved) high school. Undeniably, it looks good from the outside. The filter and angles make you see different perspectives but soon one realises that the quagmire of crab-like vindictiveness is onto you. And back to school you go. This is how it unfolds.

1. Your Popularity is Based on Likes

You thinks that you are educated, aware and that human nature cannot get the better of you? You will be not-so-pleasantly surprised to see you craving for likes. You realise that these ‘likes’ up your popularity meter. It is no more a question of mere acceptance but that of getting fame and recognition on the basis of these clicks.

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2. There are Cliques

Once you enter into the world of Instagram deeply, you realise that there are age-specific, region-specific and interest-specific groups. These groups are close-knit and they stick together. Reposting and shouting-out to each other, they help in creating an elitist system where some members are more revered than others.

3. They are Hard to be Accepted into

Going on from the idea that the number of likes and followers are important and being part of a group is even more so to be ‘suggested’ as a user of Instagram, it is mighty difficult to become accepted into these virtual groups. This is especially true when you are doing something different and no to the taste of others.

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4. Instagram is Only Partially True

While we use the app to showcase our lives and express happiness, we are also aware that we only show what we want people to know. This is in fact true of all social media. It demonstrates the parties, food and all the places we visit but it also has silences with regard to fights, troubles, heartbreaks and despair.

5. Posts are Filtered

With the reality being only half-baked, the perception of reality also becomes heavily skewed and more aesthetic. Life in general is normal and ordinary but Instagram has the ability of making them unreal and too beautiful to be true. Sounds like high school? We think so too. You go deeper and you understand the partial treatment you find.

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6. It is a Cauldron of Jealousy and Self-Esteem Issues

Similar to high school, the social structure makes it a tough place to battle with acceptance by oneself and by others. Looking at the likes and followers of others makes it a very commonplace affair to be envious by the popularity of others. Thousands and thousands of likes can cripple creativity when ones own post rack up mere numbers.

7. lt is a Most Superficial App

It does not add to productivity or create any kind of revenue but all it does it attract attention. This is particularly true of how high school functions. While it provides you with a lot of practise to deal with real life, it is not real life. One can use this app to reach out to an audience, but it can equally open you up to new people if and only if you have the right connections. One would think that Instagram has democratised art or photography but it is not so because of my following point.

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8. You Have to Have a Theme

Much like everything that a structured society follows, Instagram pretends to be a creative space that allows freedom. One realises that this is not true when one looks at accounts that do really well on the popularity charts. It is expected that your account must have a single-minded focus and a quirky enough theme that you have to mindlessly keep on posting about even if you are bored to death of it. This surely kills motivation when anything out of your chosen theme crops up on the feeds and racks up single digits.

9. It Encourages Aloofness

With such hoards of problems that dog an ordinary or lay user on this ‘social’ app, one finds no other way but to absolutely stop caring about likes, followers and shout outs. Which is defeating the purpose of it being a social networking site. Remind anyone of school times? When tired of all the drama, people just chose to reach back into their shells and do their own thing? The Instagram version of that is the lack of use of hashtags and just putting up things for the love of photography and not to seek inspiration.

10. The Grapevine

Lastly, High School had a perfect way of communicating gossip and rumours. This is the modern version of the ‘Burn Book’. Instagram is the best way of keeping tabs on the lives of others. Noticing comments and likes would reveal a lot about our near ones and lots of people use it to their benefit, continuing the plague of bitchiness and overall voyeurism. Not to say that Instagram is not open to everyone. It is. But one cannot deny that if you can crack the code, you can pass the test.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

How to Self-Taught Effectively

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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