Thesis

A Qualitative Case Study of Users' Change of Self-Perception Through the Use of Instagram

Instead of posting random images of their daily lives on Instagram, many users have successfully gathered considerable numbers of followers on the platform by only posting specific types of images such as fashion, food, beauty, and cars. With the fame, some have even received sponsorships from investors who want to promote their products through Instagram. From ordinary people in their daily lives to Instafamous in the virtual world, these Instafamous’ fame on the platform is believed to influence their selfperception. This qualitative case study interviews six Asian American male import car enthusiasts from the west coast of the U.S., in order to describe Asian American male import car enthusiasts’ change of self-perception during their consumption and use of car images on Instagram. Findings from this research suggest that the practice of constructing an online image is highly performative since it requires techniques of self-presentation and self-commodification. Psychological factors such as self-confirmation, the feelings of empowerment and being a microcelebrity that emerges from the process of selfpresentation and self-commodification on Instagram are found to contribute to the participants’ change of self-perception. In addition to social media studies, this study also sheds light on two other understudied topics in the U.S. society, which includes American import car culture and Asian American youth culture.

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