Final Project Annotated Bibliography

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The world of Instagram and its trends is a vast and complex one. As I delve further into my research surrounding the relationship between Instagram, food, and human health, I have come upon a number of important sources for this final project that will provide background, context, and significant data that can act as both sources of important information and mechanisms of comparison for the data I will be collecting from my own peers. 


  1. Bahou, Olivia. “Instagram Is Making Me Gain Weight—and These Famous Foodstagrammers Agree.” com, 21 Apr. 2017.
    1. In her piece on, Bahou speaks with seven Instagram food bloggers about the dichotomy between their own physical health and what they are supposedly eating—exactly the area of interest of this research project. She discusses many different elements of food blogging with the Instagram bloggers, including their experience with dieting an eating healthy while managing these accounts, how it has actually helped them remain in shape, and what really goes on behind the photographs that seem to constantly depict and indulgent lifestyle.
  2. Coppa, Francesca. “Pop culture, fans, and social media.” The social media handbook(2014): 76-92.
    1. Coppa’s piece talks about the evolution of fandom on social media. Fans and followers are obviously a critical element of social media and Web 2.0, because without them, it wouldn’t exist. Part of the research I am doing and part of what I am hoping to uncover is the effect of food Instagram accounts and health/indulgence food-focused social media on the millions who follow these accounts. Thus, exploring and gaining an understanding of the history and background of fans, fandom, and the nature of online mass-following is critical to understanding the behavior of these groups of people and for understanding how this specific niche of social media applies in this context.
  3. Marwick, Alice. “Gender, sexuality and social media.” The Social Media Handbook. New York: Routledge (2013): 59-75.
    1. Found in the Social Media Handbook, Marwick’s piece provides important context for the foundation of the relationship between social media and gender. While the main focus of my final project is going to be food, health, and social media, gender is inextricable from this study. The differences between male and female food bloggers on Instagram, as well as the disparate effects food bloggers may have on males and females are both highly important elements to consider and study in a comprehensive analysis of this food phenomenon. This piece’s attempt to provide a framework through which gender on social media can be recognized, organized, and examined is helpful in unpacking and considering all of these connections.
  4. Mejova, Yelena, et al. “#foodporn: Obesity patterns in culinary interactions.” Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Digital Health 2015. ACM, 2015.
    1. This work on food and social media was motivated by the obesity epidemic in America, which is directly applicable to the relationship between of physical health and social media that this research project will further investigate. This study had three primary aims: assessing the relationship between fast food and chain restaurants and obesity, to better understand people’s own perceptions of their daily culinary experiences, and to uncover the implications of social reinforcement and approval within the context of healthy eating on social media. The authors ultimately come to describe the current dietary landscape as a “complex ecosystem,” which seems fitting to the discussion at hand but also perfectly encapsulates the variety within their findings, which show that fast food does play an important role alongside social interaction and self-perception, which often are not one and the same.
  5. Mejova, Yelena, Sofiane Abbar, and Hamed Haddadi. “Fetishizing Food in Digital Age:# foodporn Around the World.” ICWSM. 2016.
    1. In this study, the researchers ponder over the phenomenon of associating food with pornography. Their central question was one of whether this Instagram trend of “#foodporn” is one that promotes an unhealthy relationship with food, such as the unrealistic view of sexuality that pornography itself promotes. Their results are both interesting and important for the research at hand, as they found that food can serve as motivation for a healthy lifestyle within this context, and also the ways in which the element of social approval is central to the Instagram food experience. Their work also provides applicable information about a larger scale element of healthy eating and social media: the relationship between GDP and attention to healthiness of food. Ultimately, this work is important because of what it comes to characterize as positive effects of the idea of “food pornography.”
  6. Mull, Amanda. “Opinion: Instagram Food Is a Sad, Sparkly Lie.” Eater, Eater, 6 July 2017,
    1. In her opinion piece on, Mull discusses the food Instagram dichotomy of bloggers’ physical appearance and the accounts depicting what they claim to eat. In her honest discussion, she touches on elements of both the human and food aesthetic, in the sense that part of being a successful food blogger appears to be maintaining a certain appearance as a person, an observation critical to the research at hand, as it is one that touches on elements of gender norms, body image, and the glaring but yet often unspoken disparity between how people post and how they truly live—the idea of eating with one’s eyes versus eating with one’s stomach.
  7. Sidani, Jaime E., et al. “The association between social media use and eating concerns among US young adults.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics9 (2016): 1465-1472
    1. This study examines social media, which it identifies as a less-studied kind of media than traditional media, and looks at its influence on eating concerns risk. With the goal in mind of examining associations between eating concerns and social media use, the study looked at a large number of social media platforms and assessed both volume of use (time per day) and frequency (visits per week), finding that participants in the group that exhibited higher social media volume and frequency had significantly higher odds of having eating concerns, and that there was a statistically significant positive overall association between the social media use variables and “eating concerns.”
  8. Vaterlaus, J. Mitchell, et al. “#Gettinghealthy: The Perceived Influence of Social Media on Young Adult Health Behaviors.” Computers in Human Behavior, Pergamon, 23 Dec. 2014,
    1. This article recognizes the young adult period as an important one for establishing healthy behavior but addresses it as one now made more challenging within a period during which such a huge quantity of time is spent with technology. The study looks at young adult perceptions of social media on their own healthy behavior such as diet and exercise, and yielded observations of three highly important themes for the research project at hand. Notably, young adults in the study exhibited perceptions that technology could act as both a barrier and motivator for healthy behavior. Additionally, social media was credited with broadening users’ food choices through recipe access and the exposure and representation of the food choices that young people make. Finally, and perhaps most interesting, was the observed theme that social media actually worked to distract young adults from making positive food choices, which is a theme highly important to the study at hand of the relationship between food Instagram accounts, viewers’ responses to them, and the impact they can have on the well-being of those who follow them.