On Christmas day 2013, my cousin and a close friend literally hijacked my phone and signed me up for Instagram. I’ve resisted joining this social network for years because (1) I felt I was too busy – I was barely keeping up with Facebook and Twitter and (2) why would I want to go around taking and posting pictures – who’d want to see my pictures anyway? But I have lots of friends who kept bugging me to keep up, and so I gave in to the pressure.
So I’ve been an Instagram user for almost two weeks now, and I thought I’d write a little about how things have gone so far. To my surprise, I’ve actually enjoyed it! I use the official Instagram app (haven’t researched yet whether there are other apps – like you have Hootsuite and Tweetbot and a host of others for Twitter, and the same for Facebook). It’s got a clean interface and is really intuitive and easy to use. One of the first things I asked when I was being signed up was whether I would have to now post pictures in three places. “No!” I was told. “Instagram will take care of that for you!” And it does – as you decide to post a picture, you can choose whether to also post the pic on other social networks that you belong to – Facebook and Twitter being the ones I care about the most. This, of course, is extremely convenient! 🙂
Uploading pictures is a breeze – either take the picture yourself via the Instagram app, or choose from a picture in your library (that you took with your phone’s camera). My cousin advised using the pictures you’d already taken, and I’ve grown to like that approach. Otherwise, if you take the picture from within Instagram, you have to post it right away. Sometimes, you don’t want to do that – you want the opportunity to capture a bunch of shots from the activity you’re involved in, and then choose which ones to post. It’s good to have both options.
Like Facebook photos, you can tag people when you post Instagram pictures. You also refer to people using the @ symbol that is used in Twitter – so the app keeps a sense of things that are “familiar” – important when asking people to get used to something new. Many people are “nice” enough to use the same screennames that they use in Twitter as their Instagram handle, which makes it easy to identify your friends. You of course, have the opportunity when you sign up for Instagram, if you choose to use your Facebook account to sign in, to immediately add / follow all of your Facebook friends. This actually is a good way of doing things, as most of your Facebook friends are probably already signed up for Instagram. 🙂 Hashtags are also widely used by the Instagram population.
So… what should you take pictures of? What do I take pictures of? Anything! 🙂 Today I posted a picture of the new electric charging stations that had been installed in the parking lot at my job. I post pics of food, and of the boys (mostly of the boys). People post pics of whatever they feel like and many Instagram users are just regular people with camera phones snapping away. There are though, more “serious” photographers who (in my opinion) appear to seriously consider their shots and take pictures of beautiful things. An interesting thing that I have realized is that you can follow people who do random things – many of my friends follow people who are into fashion – these people post pics of outfits, styles, etc. Several of my girlfriends who are into natural hair follow some natural hair posters – they get ideas about hairstyles. I’ve started following this person who is either a wonderful interior decorator, or who spends way too much time walking around places taking pictures of interiors. Lol. There are people who post recipe ideas, inspiring quotes, jokes, and so on. And I’m sure if you wanted, you could find your fair share of raunchy pics as well (not sure what the policies are regarding that).
All in all, I’ve had a very good Instagram experience over the past two weeks. It’s been fun sharing pictures of what we’re doing with the boys with our friends. I’ve actually gotten so into it that a couple of nights ago as we were driving to the National Zoo to take the boys to see Zoolights, I hit up my brother and a photographer friend to find out how I could take good pics with my camera phone at night. Because of course, I needed to document this activity on Instagram! They both laughed and told me I should have taken a real camera with me. Lol. Ah well – there are still times when we cannot capture and post instantly.