Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms and that is why it has become my digital artefact platform of choice. Data released by Instagram showed that they have 1 billion active users and 500 million daily users (Kemp, 2019). That made it obvious to use this platform as a way to create content and engage with users for the purpose of my social utility of this project.
My Digital Artefact is my personal Instagram @hollyxmoran. This Instagram account involves delicious food content and personal bodybuilding progress. The page differs from other fitness accounts, as typically they involve content associated with ‘clean’ eating, with little content on how or if they eat out. There is nothing wrong with promoting healthy foods, however the reality of it is most people still want to live a little and eat out with family or friends now and then. So, the utility of this page is to promote a balanced lifestyle persona and encourage others to do so. Educating others about having healthy relationship with food and their body, from my own experience and learning. This account isn’t to promote ‘cheat’ meals or regular intake of unhealthy food.
One of the main reasons for this account is it differs from the traditional healthy eating fitspo Instagram account (such as the one above). Young people are increasingly turning to social media for health-related information in areas such as physical activity, diet/nutrition and body image (Victoria A. Goodyear, 2019). A study found that out of the population studied, 49 percent of people who followed health food accounts on Instagram had symptoms of orthorexia (Social Media & Eating Disorders | Toledo Center, 2019).
In saying that, the account isn’t to discourage healthy eating, but to promote balance. Many influencers on Instagram push “clean” eating on to young girls and women. Which is increasing the rise in “orthorexia” (Staufenburg, 2016), which is an obsession with only eating foods that one considers healthy. Influencers share which foods are acceptable and what needs to be cut out, which can lead to restrictive dieting. A study found participants who spent the most time on social media each day were 2.2 times more likely to report that they had issues with body image and eating habits (Arnold, 2019). Educating these people on the importance of nutrition that I’ve learnt overtime can assist them with these issues. My goal is to continue promoting my balanced persona on my platform to encourage others, specifically young girls who fall into the trap of restrictive diets and poor body image because of these accounts.
The original concept of the account was personal. However, overtime I gradually posted the food I enjoyed eating out and my personal fitness journey. This started gaining an audience. The account grew more once speaking of personal experiences such as body image and developing a healthy relationship with food overtime. Therefore, the initial idea was to start posting more content in regard to that. My Instagram stems it’s inspiration from Instagram’s such as @nuttyfoodiefitness, @nickvavitiss and @fitwaffle. They all promote a healthy lifestyle, while posting the foods they enjoy eating. They also focus on the mental aspect of fitness and their own journeys.
@hollyxmoran uses the FIST concept, known as fast, inexpensive, simple and tiny (Mitew, 2019). This digital artefact is fast as it allows for rapid prototyping based on feedback. I am taking photos of food when I eat out (not going out of my way), and content while at the gym that I go to regularly. Therefore making it inexpensive, as these photo’s are quick to take time wise. Focusing on just fitness and food, makes it simple. And as I have control over content and iterations, it is tiny process.
Complexity is another word for simplicity unfolding in time. Cliff Crego (Ward, 2005)
This project has undergone many iterations in aesthetics, content choices, posting frequency and times, guided by feedback and analytics. Although some concepts complex, creating simple ideas overtime will grow the artefact.
Creations & Iterations
From my pitch I started by researching the differences in analytics in both categories – food or fitness. I discovered my fitness content had more engagement on my feed, whereas my food content had more engagement via Instagram stories. This created #phatphursdays which was formed during my project beta. This concept was an Instagram poll on my story letting my audience decide where I would eat on a Thursday. I thought this would be useful to show my followers how I track my food when eating out and explain that there should be no guilt around this. This is similar to Jordan Syatt’s ‘I Ate One Big Mac Everyday for 30 Days’ Youtube video, where he showed his follower’s how to incorporate a big mac in their diet while still losing fat (Syatt, 2019). However, not promoting McDonald’s but showing how you can still eat your favourite foods in moderation while still living an overall healthy lifestyle.
This part of my digital artefact was the most exciting, yet the hardest to maintain which made it difficult to continue on. #phatphursdays was used on my Instagram story as a way to engage and build a relationship with my followers. One of my peer’s suggested I try to engage more with my audience. Creating a hashtag is a great way to gain more reach on Instagram, and will make my content more discoverable (Barnhart, 2019). The hashtag was promoted via my story and posts.
Therefore I would venture out to a food place on a Thursday, taking my followers on the journey with me via Instagram story. This idea was to show my followers that it’s okay to eat these ‘bad’ foods and it won’t have a detrimental effect on your fitness progress.
Initially I would post a poll on a Wednesday night of two different places (which were tagged in the stories) and go to the one that got the most votes. I would then post an image of where I went and ate on my profile. From posting these polls I got plenty of interaction with my audience as seen from my analytics.
I got some positive feedback from my followers who said they were enjoying watching it. I also added #phatphursdays as a highlight on my page, so the public could view my food adventure. I chose to do this on the Instagram story feature as I was typically getting more of a response from that via direct messages and analytics.
One iteration was made, as if I posted the content on my story before posting on my feed, the image wouldn’t get as much engagement. I assumed this is because my audience would have already seen my stories, making them less inclined to comment. Therefore, I made sure I posted the image at peak time, and then uploaded the stories later on.
In addition, another issue was I wouldn’t be feeling like eating ‘junk food’ on the Thursday and then I wouldn’t go out to eat. If anything, from now I would explain to my audience why I chose not to and took content of myself explaining this. This would have reiterated the reason why I chose to do this for digital artefact, being balance and a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps restyling the name to #phateveryday (not as catchy though).
Editing – Lightroom
Feedback suggested I regulated posts which I did so using the Preview app. However I wanted to make my account look more professional. Originally my food posts where taken with little effort – not using certain angles, natural lighting or editing tools. While I was happy with my content, I thought I could develop the photos to make them look more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I asked for feedback off a fellow foodie Instagram who gave me the following feedback.
Using Lightroom to edit my photos, gave it the visual and aesthetic appeal to stand out on my feed. An Instagram aesthetic/theme is so important is because it can help improve engagement and your connection with the audience (Instagram Aesthetics – The Importance of a Cohesive Theme, 2018).
I was given feedback in order to increase my engagement and response – to post frequently and at certain times. Using the analytics enabled me to discover what the best time to post was for this – usually 9pm on a weekday (did fluctuate).
However, I’m quite disappointed that I didn’t commit to posting at least twice a week. I feel as if I had consistently released more content, the Instagram account had more of a chance to grow. In saying that, I wanted to ensure the content I was uploading was quality over quantity. So at least I was posting daily on my stories to maintain that follower relationship.
The two most developed highlights since getting feedback from peers was the ‘daily’ and the ‘balance’ highlight. These are available for the public to view at any time.
Educative posts AKA. Balance highlight – Stating how I incorporate the foods that I eat out into my calories for the day/week. Specifically an educative highlight to inform others of where I get my own information from. Some of my followers were confused about the concept, so I explained what works for me (not pushing my methods onto them). This gained positive feedback and followers.
In addition, within this story highlight I added a disclaimer as suggested from my feedback loops. This being that this works for myself and may not work for others. Users would trust and appreciate a genuine disclaimer which was a great idea to iterate into my digital artefact.
Daily highlight – Being the foods I eat on a regular basis. Showing my followers the importance of eating nutritious and satiating foods. Re-iterating – balance.
- Analytics for audience aka. food & fitness – engage with then to understand how to empathise with them.
- Why am I making this content and how can it be useful.
- Finding inspiration and generating more ideas
- Trial new or existing ideas
- Feedback from prototypes – What people gave positive feedback to what and what was given constructive feedback. What does the audience like.
Future plans are continue the design process and iteration. This will be done by creating multiple prototypes or trying to form ideas with multiple groups.
- Regular, consistent content – growth
- Continue editing photos for visual aesthetic – start editing lighting in fitness content
- Post on IG stories more educative information but including myself, rather than just a click through post
- Create blog on my personal journey and what I’ve learnt
- Continue engaging with others
It has been an insightful and learning experience doing this digital artefact, and I am excited to see where it goes (Moran, 2019).
Anon, 2018. Instagram Aesthetics – The Importance of a Cohesive Theme. [online] Melbourne Social Co. Available at: <https://melbournesocialco.com.au/instagram-aesthetics/#targetText=One%20of%20the%20other%20key,hundreds%20of%20other%20accounts’%20posts.> [Accessed 30 Oct. 2019].
Anon, 2019. Social Media & Eating Disorders | Toledo Center. [online] Toledocenter.com. Available at: <https://toledocenter.com/anorexia/social-media-and-orthorexia/#targetText=In%202017%2C%20a%20study%20in,Instagram%20had%20symptoms%20of%20orthorexia.&targetText=Understandably%2C%20people%20use%20social%20media,accountable%20to%20a%20fitness%20plan.> [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].
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Mitew, T., 2019. Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny #fist. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=23&v=1lKfmWJxkBY> [Accessed 28 Oct. 2019].
Syatt, J., 2019. I Ate One Big Mac Every Day for 30 Days And Lost 7lbs (Here’s How). Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yAMU6Y4Iro&t=338s> [Accessed 31 Oct. 2019].
(2019) Young people and their engagement with health-related social media: new perspectives, Sport, Education and Society, 24:7, 673-688,
Ward, D., 2005. The Simplicity Cycle. [online] Dau.edu. Available at: <https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/2005_11_12/war_nd05.pdf> [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].