I found Rettberg’s multi-faceted definition of ‘filter’ to be extremely intriguing and dynamic. On the surface, our society sees filters as a kind of ‘net’ to capture impurities. In technology, a filter is used in a very similar way to metaphorically remove search content that is irrelevant depending upon the specific keywords and phrases searched. In an exclusively social media reference, a filter is a tool used to add or subtract certain light colorations to your images to enhance the appeal of user photos. Despite the abundance of valid definitions for this term, I find the most important definition to be related to a sociotechnical aspect of our societies. Cultural filters are quite possibly the most important filters to recognize, because they help determine the norms and customs of a society. In turn, abiding by these rules helps users gain more likes, followers and favorites. For example, in my community of UCLA students, we find it out-of-the-norm to post Instagrams more than once every few days. The individuals who decide to break this social norm are seen as undesirable or like-hungry.
Instagram filters have been steadily declining in popularity as they have became too obvious and recognizable to users. In a Business Insider article that was posted at the beginning of the year, it reported that the new social norm is to not apply filters to images because it was the ‘uncool’ thing to do. Further analysis on this idea, combined with my experience and social participation in this group of millennials reveals that adding filters can seem like the user is trying too hard to fit in by making their photo as worthy to their followers as possible. From this, an emerging normality in the social media world is the use of the hashtag #nofilter and VSCO Cam. Despite the the dated popularity of using filters to enhance images, many millennials take pride in their budding photography skills and make it known to their followers that their image wasn’t enhanced with a filter, to show the natural beauty of the image. Another emerging technology is the VSCO Cam app. This app uses lighter filter options to add an old fashion filmy quality to photos to make it seem like the user isn’t overdoing it with lights and coloring additions, as seen below.