Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Melissa Cinelli

Relational Format



As social media has become an integral part of every day communications, consumers have begun to conspicuously consume through the Internet. One social media platform, Instagram, puts a central focus on media sharing and allows its users to post photos and videos to their profiles. This makes Instagram an ideal place for Internet users to put their belongings on display. However, a user's nationality and cultural upbringing could influence how one utilizes this platform to conspicuously consume. To determine if this were true, Instagram photos from American and French users were analyzed to find any potential discrepancies. Fashion items were the focus of the study. As photos were collected, it was noted if the user was American, French, or neither, if the user was male or female, and if a fashion item was present in the post. If present, it was decided if the item was being worn, if a fashion brand was tagged in the photo, if a brand name or logo was visible, if a brand related hashtag was used, if a fashion brand was mentioned in the photo caption, and if the aesthetic of the outfit was street style or more luxurious. It was revealed that both American and French Instagram users vary little from one another in terms of how they conspicuously consume using the platform. Despite major cultural differences, these two nationalities are shown to be more similar than not. Also, the two countries have very similar habits to that of other nations around the world. The results make it apparent that Americans and the French have similar habits, but are unable to determine the exact personal, social, or cultural motives behind how these Instagram users conspicuously consume. While these users may not differ in how they act, the reason behind the action may differ immensely. Further research should be completed to discover this information.

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