by Claire Carter| Staff writer

Everyday, senior Dominic Castorena walks through the halls with his sunglasses on and one hand up blocking the paparazzi and the blinding flashes of light coming from kids’ iPhone 5s. His fame doesn’t come to him from sports or singing, but the mastery of the latest social network, Instagram.

Teens in today’s society can’t get enough of this picture-focused network.

Castorena has around 16,000 followers on the ever so popular social network for pictures, but he doesn’t feel very impressed with himself, seeing as this fame is fleeting.

“I don’t really feel like a celebrity, but I went to this church event once and I was surrounded by like 15 people and they freaked out because they had seen me on Instagram,” senior Castorena said. “They took pictures with me and they asked for shoutouts, and even though I didn’t give them any, they made a fanpage for me and they message me all the time.”

This attention doesn’t just come from obsessive teenage girls; companies conduct business by advertising through Instagram.

“I was sponsored by this company called ‘Into the AM’ for a little bit. They contacted me because they had seen my Instagram, and they sent me some free gear so I could advertise for them on my account. It was pretty cool because they gave me free clothes and all I had to do was post pictures of it,” Castorena said.

The typical teenager uses Instagram for posting selfies (a self-taken up close model shot), party pics (appropriate or not), or a baby picture with the caption ‘Throwback Thursday.’ But one of the best parts of Instagram would be its easy navigation and constant motivation for more followers.

“My favorite thing about Instagram is how you can see other people’s pictures without actually following them. It’s easier to do that here than other social networks,” freshman Madison Malaga said.

Malaga has over 1,300 followers, a goal most do not achieve. Her followers flock to their news feed to find her daily model shots.

“I normally post pictures of me doing fun things with my friends. I like to post vacation pictures and selfies too,” Malaga said. “If you want to get a lot of followers you should post things that people would find interesting, and don’t over post with random things nobody really relates to.”

Scrolling through their newsfeeds, teens can find pictures of soccer teams smiling at their victories to a mascara-smeared wreck post-Les Miserables viewing. However, one of Johnson’s very own posts pictures more meaningful than a duck-faced selfie on a Sunday afternoon.

“I got an Instagram to help me start my weight loss progress. I like having Instagram to track my progression,” senior Monique Ressel said. “I use Instagram to inspire other people about fitness and weightloss. But, I also like having so many followers who support me.”

Ressel, with over 1,000 followers, has already lost over 120 pounds through exercising and eating healthy.

“I use a lot of hashtags and I’ve been featured on fitness Instagrams before. I usually use fitness hashtags and post workout pictures to get more followers,” Ressel said.

Junior Brandon Perez, with almost 3,000 followers on Instagram, finds himself sifting through countless likes and comments from girls he’s never even met. While some may find this obsessive and annoying, Perez embraces the affection.

“I like having a lot of fangirls. It’s actually funny because some of them will message me through Kik [a texting app] telling me ‘Oh I love you and please follow me back’,” Perez said. “But sometimes my followers can get pretty weird.”

With times changing, teens rely on social networks to record great memories from a midnight kiss at a New Year’s Eve party to a celebratory high five after a rigorous game of ping pong. With poor influences surrounding students, social networks are monitored by team captains and coaches.

“I would never put a picture on Instagram of myself at a party. My mom follows me and that would just get me in trouble,” junior Brandon Perez said.

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About The Author

Claire Carter is the Editor-In-Chief of the Pride. This is her third year on the newspaper staff. She is involved in Johnson PALS, Jags for Jesus, Key Club, and Cross Country. She enjoys the musical stylings of Needtobreathe, Beyonce, and the soft yodels of Lexi Rosas' cat.

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