LSE Review of Books (8 April 2020) (review by Beyza Dogan):

Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures is a seminal book in a growing field of academia which enables readers to analyse the social, visual and cultural changes in our daily lives conceptually… Students, scholars, social media practitioners and platform users can benefit from the book as a great introduction to how to approach and study social media.

Mobile Media & Communication (September 2020) (review by Alexandra van Eeden)

Instagram: Visual social media cultures contributes a wealth of knowledge to social media research, particularly to the hitherto under-researched Instagram… this book has undoubtedly provided social media researchers with a collection of relevant and updated platform-specific findings that will be instrumental in Instagram studies going forth from this point.

Communications: The European Journal of Communications Research (September 2020) (review by Clare Lushey)

Instagram: Visual social media cultures provides an important and comprehensive overview of Instagram by examining its history and evolution, how it operates as a platform for visual communication, how different subcultures use Instagram, its commercialization, the rise of influencers, the aesthetics of Instagram, and its place in and infiltration into contemporary society. With examples from around the world, through the authors’ own research, and the presentation of case studies this book succeeds in bringing together a wide variety of topics and debates concerning Instagram, giving the reader an impressive insight into how Instagram has influenced the material world and how we live, behave, communicate, and share today.

Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network (November 2020) (review by Kate Stuart)

Leaver, Highfield, and Abidin’s Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures
provides an engaging overview of the platform, weaving the history of its development with the way it is used by the individuals that embrace it. They show how the app has been shaped not only by its competition, but also by the communities that it hosts as they navigate the strengths and limitations of the platform against commercial needs, cultural norms, and living for the ‘gram. As the first book-length introduction to the subject, it navigates the tricky balance of clear communication and depth well, but also expands the conversation through a connected Instagram account.

Journal of Popular Culture (March 2021) (review by Jessica Maddox)

Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures is required reading for any social media scholar, student, journalist, or practitioner. Far from just a how‐to guide or criticism of the photo‐sharing platform, Leaver, Highfield, and Abidin’s book explores and explains Instagram with great attention to nuance. The book is highly descriptive instead of using critical theory or empirical intervention, but this is far from a weakness. Instead, the descriptive approach allows the authors to lay a sturdy foundation for future work by providing details, histories, and strategies of numerous corners of the platform, thus positioning itself as the comprehensive resource for all‐things Instagram.

Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media (March 2021) (review by Hojin Song)

Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures provides an excellent overview of a hitherto under-researched platform in a growing field of social media research. The accessibility of the writing makes the text an easy recommendation for both undergraduate and graduate courses in digital media. The book will generate great discussions regarding both the affordances and limitations of the platform, with plenty of influencer and cultural references students can use to connect to their own experiences.

Visual Anthropology (April 2021) (review by Admire Mare)

Unlike many books that are focused on unpacking the architectural design, operational dynamics, business models and cultural implications of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, WeChat, SnapChat (just to mention a few), this well-structured and well written volume problematizes Instagram as a platform from the perspective of culture, aesthetics, ecologies, economies and lifespans.

Communication Research and Practice (May 2021) (review by Kathleen M. Kuehn)

Based on the premise that visuality is now the primary means by which people communicate and business operates, Instagram is an essential read for anyone interested in contemporary digital culture. It covers a range of topics that clearly show the platform’s gradual yet cumulative influence over a wide range of political, economic, social, cultural and aesthetic processes and practices.

New Media and Society (June 2021) (review by Ally McCrow-Young)

Through the interplay of illustrative cases and technical developments, the authors underscore the ways in which the platform is groundbreaking in so many ways, and why it has become an integral part of contemporary mobile social culture. It is refreshing to see this thoughtful overview of Instagram and its cultures that goes beyond bounded case studies of currently published research.
Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures elucidates the nuances of the affordances, aesthetics, and cultures that are distinctive to Instagram, and the authors strike a successful balance between meticulous analysis, historical record, and digestible form.

Information, Communication & Society (July 2021) (review by Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

The authors undertake the challenge of remaining relevant beyond the continuous cycle of change that distinguishes Instagram, and they do it successfully. This is due to their focus on metamorphic processes rather than static traits and the effective link established between sociopolitical and economic events surrounding many of the decisions that have shaped the platform.

International Journal of Communication (2022) (review by Sophia E. Du Val)

Leaver, Highfield, and Abidin’s book tackles a timely and complex topic with precision and clarity. An essential overview of Instagram as a far-reaching, multifunctional platform, the authors deftly map out the ways
in which Instagram permeates our daily lives. By providing engaging examples throughout the book, the authors give life to their arguments while leaving room for readers to consider important questions for themselves.

Media Culture & Society (March 2022) (review essay with Platforms and Cultural Production (Poell, Nieborg, & Duffy, 2022), by Zhen Ye)