The distinction between the real and the virtual world has become increasingly complex in recent years, especially with the emergence of social media blurring those transitions. The use of social media platforms such as Instagram, which primarily operates with visual language, helps in selective presentation of the Self to the outside world. This exploratory study investigates the formation of an ideal Self on Instagram among millennials. Based on the Instagram profile analysis and ten semi-structured interviews, findings demonstrate that millennials are expressing their identity through brand preference yet exhibit low brand-loyalty. These findings, combined with existing research on the formation of (digital) identity associated with brand usage, suggest that millennials identify with the brands they follow on Instagram but do not extend it, as assumed, to present an ideal version of themselves to the outside world.
Longo, Isabella and Saxena, Deepak, "Self-brand Connection in the Digital Age: A Qualitative Exploration of Brand Usage on Instagram for Identity Creation Among Millennials" (2020). CAPSI 2020 Proceedings. 18.