These days, as soon as a person gets a new tattoo, he has an undying urge to immediately show it off. No, not just to their close friends and family, they want to show it off to the world. Most of the time, their platform of choice is Instagram.
Even five years ago, people might have chosen a different option. They might have taken a picture and posted it on Twitter or Facebook, or simply sent it though text to a few people. Nowadays, taking pictures of fresh ink is an art form. The picture has to have the perfect angle, lighting and caption to help get it right, and assure the approval of followers. How did this all start?
Of course, when Instagram became massively popular, so did the concept of sharing tattoos, for some. However, in recent years, the concept has become much more mainstream and created a tattoo culture within this picture-based platform. In the past couple of years, Instagram has rolled out several new features that have allowed the idea of sharing tattoo photos blossom. Not only is it now sharing a picture of a tattoo, it has become new business for tattoo artists and parlors, new ideas for people seeking tattoos and a way to share the latest trends in tattooing.
"40% of Millennials have at least one tattoo."
A generational movement
Before getting into the transformation of tattoos on Instagram, first it's important to go back to the changing outlook of tattoos in general. Even 10 years ago, tattoos were not nearly as accepted as they are today. Of course, this charge has been led by the Millennial generation, who also conveniently use Instagram more than other generations. Approximately 40 percent of Millennials have at least one tattoo, and many have admitted to having more than one. However, only 10 percent of people over the age of 40 will admit if they have a tattoo or not.
The outlook toward tattoos is completely shifting. What once was seen as rebellious and taboo now is embraced by younger generations who view tattooing as a form of expression and art. While most are proud of their tattoos, some have chosen to put them in places away from the public eye in fear of letting their tattoos compromise their careers. Approximately 89 percent of Millennials think about how a visible tattoo might affect their career or job options before they go under the gun.
However, even the concept of tattoos in the workplace is slowly shifting, with more occupations welcoming visible tattoos. Of course, people might be confused about why Millennials worry about hiding their tattoo when they have already shared it on Instagram. Luckily, Instagram can be set to private mode and if people use a clever name, employers, or anyone else, might never find them or their well-filtered tattoos.
Luckily for the tattoo industry, the embrace of tattoos and Instagram helped create the union that exists today. Approximately 53 percent of Millennials are on Instagram and use the social media platform frequently, so why wouldn't their love of tattoos and their love of Instagram begin to intermix? Thanks to Instagram's continual roll-out of features, the bond did happen, and it might only become bigger with time.
Embracing tattoo sharing
First off, many Millennials are choosing to use Instagram as a place for tattoo research. A few years ago, a person might walk into a tattoo parlor with an idea of what they want, or a picture of it from a tattoo magazine such as Inked. However, if the customer is inexperienced or if this is his first time getting a tattoo, they might ask some questions they feel silly asking. Now, Instagram answers those questions for you. The platform has become a place where artists and consumers sit under one umbrella, sharing pictures, ideas and business.
A person can easily find what he is looking for through a series of hashtags. What once started as clouds could turn into something much more elaborate, all thanks to a little digging. Instagram recently added a feature called Discover, which offers users similar posts and followers based off of their recent searches. In a matter of 20 minutes, a person can go from having a vague idea of what they want to having an exact picture of what they want, along with the artist that can create it.
However, it isn't a one-way street. Artists also use the platform to learn more about what consumers are interested in as well as new styles of tattoos they might want to try out. For instance, stick and poke tattoos have recently become a popular choice among this young generation. Artists have learned about the DIY process and some are now offering it in their parlors, making homemade tattoos even more attractive. Artists can also easily reach out to consumers thanks to Instagram's new messaging feature, and questions can be answered in a matter of minutes. Some people have even begun to book their appointments through this social media platform. Users can click on artists' bios to learn more about them or find out the parlor's phone number. Yet it isn't all consumer-artist interaction. The platform has also turned into a place where artists can support one another's work, and help share it among other communities, in turn generating more business.
Though it only seemed like a photo-sharing site, Instagram has transformed into an online market of ideas, communication, and yes, thought-out pictures of tattoos.