A study has been done on a subject that has been long talked about it and long debated on. Having both a large following, along with a strong disagreement. The results are in for ‘Digital Daily Practice’. Interest in the connection between involvement in digital communities and well-being has increased. Digital daily practices involve a commitment to doing one thing, exercise, photography and writing...every day and sharing it online!
The sample consisted of ages ranging from 20 to 60 years old and each of the these participants were to post a photo every day to social media platforms like Instagram, Flickr and Blipfoto. They were each monitored for 2 months and were recorded every step they took, from photos taken to the captions written underneath, to the social interactions they had with other photographers online. After the 2 months were completed, they gave a phone interview. Scientists found that the act of sharing photos daily, improved ones self-care and being. Calling this, therapeutic, renewing and refreshing for the photographers.
The community interaction helped provide a regular feeling of interest within a community of people with the same interests. For many participants, this form of self-care was not a search for individualism. A community of mutuality and support formed around this daily contact positioned around photography. User-generated content, social networking and online communicates helps us draw theoretical conclusions that community can be seen as a form of locality. A bringing together of mindsets, a neighborhood of reflections, combining shared thoughts and opinions instead of location.
Most participants discussed how online contact helped manage their loneliness and connect with networks like friends and family and meet new people with the same interests. It encouraged a daily connection and the structure of the photo-a-day, meant taking out a moment for yourself but also at the same time sharing it with others. Creativity is also extremely relevant in this case, because in order to capture something new and inspiring, you need to find your inner creativity and inspire others as well. Photo-a-day’s primary purpose is to generate user content in the form of photographs, but the shape of the practice enables social networking and connects it, for participants, to the experience of improved well-being. Managing the perceived demands of the community was important to ensure a positive, not negative, impact on well-being.
However for most of the participants, alliances or social bonds were formed beyond the photographs! Photographs were ‘mediated dialogues’ which developed the community. The researchers, from Lancaster University, said the practice is 'an active process of creating meaning, in which a new conceptualisation of wellbeing emerges. Researchers are calling this new phenomenon an active process of meaning making!
There is challenege that exists for those looking for this companionship with social media! It's called the 365 Photo Challenge. Meaning you do just as the study did but every day for one year or 365 days! Those who have already taken on the challenge have had a new found sense for photography and a creativty in their lives. Instagram has already over two million posts under the hashtag #365, and counting. Try it out!