Instagram. Heard of it? If you haven’t, you might just be one of the few! A photo sharing application that allows users to take a photo on their digital phone or device, apply a digital filter to it and then share it with other Instagram users, social media users on various platforms. With over 100 million users around the world, the app is certainly doing something right! Confining images to a square frame mimics film images of the past, and the different effects create enriched images with the click of a single button. Now owned by the social media giant, Facebook, the pair are dominating the social media world of digital multimedia.
The U.S election on Tuesday saw a huge total of more than 150,00 instagram photos tagged with ‘#election2012’, and over 100,000 tagged with the slogan ‘#iVoted’. It has been reported that just after the results of Obama’s win, the rate that photos were uploaded to instagram was 2.1 times the normal rate. Instagram has been quoted saying “”The intimacy and immediacy of the Instagram experience has fostered new and meaningful connections across the globe, whether it’s looking through the lens of a family member across town, or a favorite candidate barnstorming across the nation”.
The platform allows users to have day to day ‘followers’ (similarly to Twitter) but also enables followers to share images with non followers via social media networks such as twitter, facebook, tumblr and such like. Multiple demographics can be reached simultaneously, hence the reason that the application appeals to private users, businesses and marketers alike. By sharing on various sites at the same time, different audiences are reached; perhaps the who might buy tickets to a concert, buy a copy of a recent magazine, purchase a product or visit an attraction…all through the sharing of one, or a series of, images. This also allows for viral campaigns in the digital sphere of images, with real time images updates and variations of the same image.
Of course, Instagram has critics. It is only available on Apple and android devices, and although there are other apps for blackberry and other phone and tablet devices, none offer the range or the social media aspect that Instagram provides. Photographers around the world are often critics themselves, with a dislike of the ‘cookie-cutter’ filters and postproduction effects. As the quality of cameras in phones of tablet devices improve, so do the consumers of Instagram. The casual simplicity of the application encourages users and the user centric interface allows generations of individuals and businesses alike to embrace this new technology. One can exert their creativity with next to no technical skill whatsoever, even the imagination part is taken care of for you! What’s not to love? Say what you mean through images, not words. Modern technology at it’s best. Why not curate your own content?