The Role of Social Connection in Satisfaction With Instagram Photographs

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We examined whether sharing photographs of known others on Instagram was associated with greater satisfaction and happiness. We asked 113 Instagram users to describe a number of the photographs they had shared on Instagram: 1 that made them feel happy and the 5 they had shared most recently (excluding the nominated happy photograph). For each photograph, participants indicated its content and rated how much satisfaction they obtained from looking at it and sharing it. Participants also completed a measure of motivations for using Instagram. We found that the nominated happy photograph was more likely to contain a known other than the average recent photograph. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between the number of photographs of known others and satisfaction. Greater social interaction motivation predicted sharing more photographs of known others, which predicted greater satisfaction. The nominated happy photograph was also more likely to contain the self than the average recent photograph, although the number of recent photographs of the self was not associated with satisfaction. Receiving more comments on photographs was associated with greater satisfaction. Overall, the results are consistent with the idea that social connection is associated with happiness and satisfaction on Instagram.

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