I brushed over in the previous blog post that my media niche was going to be the subculture of self-development. Self-development in the media primarily exists in the online world, essentially because, heck, everything is online. The self-help book you bought at the store, its available as a audio book online.
In this blog post, I aim to narrow my niche by identifying the key players and it’s field site. A field site refers to the network of incorporated physical, virtual and imagined spaces (Burrell, 2009). Below, is my attempt of mapping the field site.
Like anything on the internet, Self-development as a online culture is huge and extremely complexed. It is tiring to think about all its deep, interconnected layers. To conduct an ethnographic study on social media platforms, we observe the online public’s and the fluid associations among people whom don’t actually know each other, channeled by a common denominator (Airoldi, 2018).
To grasp somewhat of an understanding of the ‘Self Development’ field site, It seems strategic to begin with a ‘research search’ in which distinguishes a ‘meta-fieldwork’ (Airoldi, 2018). Starting with Instagram, the aesthetically pleasing platform, filtered by hashtags and algorithms, I simply searched the hashtag #Selfdevelopment. This hashtag features 2.3 million posts, growing daily. Clicking on few of the top posts, this hashtag is in conjunction with the following hashtags…
#selfcare #selflove #selfdevelopment #selfimprovement #selfgrowth #selfmotivation #selfrespect #selfworth #personalgrowth #personaldevelopment #normalizenormalbodies
And the list goes on.
Having a click through the top posts, the accounts include a lot of Self-Discovery Coaches, Motivated Mindset Inspiration Quotes, Psychologists, Teachers, Grad Students, Fitness Trainers, Entrepreneurs, Motivational Speakers, Business and Mindset Mentors. This already begins to paint the picture of educated, motivated and healthy people. From my understanding at this point, these accounts would be the facilitators.
Let’s take a look at @myeasytherapy
This account is Dr. Michaela, a Clinical Psychologist, working in the field of Mental Health for over 10 years now. She brought her knowledge and experience to an Instagram page to make mental health wellness information accessible for everyone. Dr. Michaela interacts with Instagram users via using the applications question features on the stories. The posts are supportive and positive, providing information on mental health, motivation and affirmations for users to do. The persona of Dr. Michaela appears to be similar to others within the field site.
Another person I follow is James Clear, I have read his book ‘Atomic Habits‘. I have included James Clear as an industry leader, he not only does he have a best selling book and a strong social media following, but has also been interviewed by London Reel (see below). Both James Clear and Dr. Michaela have different professions, however they share a fundamental goal to destroy stigma around mental health, educate and support people to reach their full potential.
From being immersed in this culture myself, I understand how I interact with these professionals and influencers. If they post a heartwarming or related message, I jump on it and share it to my Instagram story. I hope for others to interact positively with it.