Instagram is inherently a more aspirational platform than, say, Twitter, due to its visual nature. The hashtags that gained in popularity most throughout the year reflect this: #Travel, #travelphotography and #naturephotography were three of the 10 hashtags on Instagram that saw the largest increases in use in 2017. Trending hashtags on Twitter tend to revolve around news and collective moments.
“Obviously celebrities have amazing lives, so they’re just naturally aspirational,” Marshall says. “But, aspirational doesn’t have to mean luxury or high-end.” The offline experiences humans crave most in an increasingly digital world paradoxically show up online the most often, she explains.
For example, Instagrammer Louis Cole (@funforlouis) posts photos from far-flung destinations, but he doesn’t stay at swanky resorts. This spring, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about global diversity called Beyond Borders, to be filmed during a 90-day trip around the world in a four-seater plane. More than 1,500 backers pledged the equivalent of nearly $150,000 to make the film a reality.
Cole’s crowdfunded trip, like all of his travels, is meant to showcase natural beauty and the stories of oft-disregarded locals.
“I like that I can inspire this large audience of people around the world to go and explore the world themselves and live their own adventure in their own way,” Cole told Entrepreneur earlier this year.