Everything You Wanted To Know About Instagram

This photo was altered by using Instagram

Intern Kiersten Daly with Taylor Swift

This post was written by an intern who works for me because she is an expert on Instagram. So many of you have asked me why Instagram is so popular. Kiersten Daly spells it out. I have included a picture of Kiersten because she got up at 4am this morning to see Taylor Swift in concert on Good Morning America. She was one of hundreds who arrived outside of ABC’s studios waiting to meet the mega star.

By Kiersten Daly

Many of you may be wondering what Instagram is and what is the point of it? Plain and simple, it is a fun and interesting way to vamp up your pictures and share them with friends and family. That is called social media photo-sharing. Instagram is now officially owned by Facebook. With the touch of a few, easily identifiable, buttons on Instagram, you can instantly change the appearance of your picture and post it on the Instagram site for all of your followers, or friends, to see. Followers are the people that are connected with your Instagram site.

Similar to Facebook, you look up family members or friends and request to follow their page so that you can see their profile, pictures, and other information that they choose to share. In return, those people will usually ‘follow’ your page. Followers are a simple way of stating, “I agree to follow what’s going on with your life and I will look at your pictures that you want to share with me.” You can make pictures look older, enhance them, make them different colors, blur out background images that you don’t want in the picture, crop them and much more!

What started out as a simple idea quickly transformed into a system utilized by Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Android , and of course the iPhone and the iPad. Each system mentioned above has Instagram installed or available for download. By clicking on the Instagram icon or link you can log in and begin to take pictures or load previously taken pictures onto the site and share them with all of your followers. This fun product captures events with snapshots that will make memories last a lifetime. Instagram allows you to take all kinds of pictures and transform them into a more beautiful image than you started with, thanks to the various filters available to change the look of the photo. Capture the Eiffel Tower in France, the Statue of Liberty in New York City, or a day out with your grandchildren, and have a unique picture to last a lifetime.

Users have the option to ‘hashtag’ photos as well. This universal popular symbol, #, attaches itself to a word or phrase to categorize similar topics on a subject together so that it can be easily searched. This gives other users the ability to know what the photo is about or where the photo was taken. For instance, if a person were to hashtag one of their photos #NYC, than when you search that topic, their picture will appear. It makes things easier when trying to group pictures together under a specific topic. Yet, if you don’t want people other than your friends and family to be able to view your pictures, you can make your Instagram profile private. People will have to ask permission to follow your photos and those without permission cannot see anything on your profile.

The pictures can also be easily uploaded to your computer to print out and hang up or store until a later time. Using the explore option; you can look up family members and friends to follow their page when they share photos as well. You can also look up a specific topic or theme. By typing in the topic you are interested in, numerous pictures come up that relate to your topic. You can enjoy other users pictures of places you may want to see, ideas you may be interested in for yourself, and even inspirational sayings to help you through a difficult day. Once you start, you’ll never want to stop.

What’s The Story With Instagram?

I don’t know about you, but I do not have any artistic talent. I can’t draw, paint, or sculpt. I always wanted to, but just don’t have the skills to create something that would be worthy of showing in public until now.

Along comes Instagram, a free photo sharing application for both iPhone and Android, which allows you to apply a digital filter to your mobile pictures that changes the entire look of the composition.

You can now create photos that just two years ago you could only do using expensive digital photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop.

Yesterday, I discussed how my cousin Milo changed the look of his photos with a new filter being offered by Olympus on their digital cameras. When I saw what he was doing, I quickly dug out my two year old digital camera — the Panasonic Lumix — to see if I could do the same thing. I abandoned my camera over a year ago when I found myself using the iPhone for most of my photo needs. As I quickly found out, since most of these filter features are so new, my two year old digital camera was now outdated.

Once again, a smartphone app comes to the rescue. There are many apps being offered today on iOS and Android formats that allow you to creatively alter photographs. One of the most popular apps is Instagram.  Instagram became widely popular because it offered the amateur picture taker the opportunity to alter photos in a number of different ways and instantly exhibit them on Twitter and Facebook. While Instagram photos can’t compete with the shots cousin Milo takes with his Olympus camera, it certainly is perfect for the average smartphone user who wants to get creative.

I guess that is why Facebook paid $1 Billion to purchase Instagram this past April.

Click on Instagram (shaded) above for some amazing facts about the company.

Straight shot taken by David Nieves

With Instagram’s Amaro Filter

Straight shot by David Nieves

With Instagram’s X Pro Filter