Why I loved Instagram

On the 6th of January 2011 I made a new friend.  I found Instagram, and I was immediately hooked! I love taking pictures of things around me, people and places, and while my then iPhone 3GS was not the most advanced in photography, I always had it with me and it made perfect sense to use that to take photos rather than carting the SLR everywhere.

Note: Instagram is a mobile photo sharing app, originally only for iOS devices, but later also for other platforms.

Thank you InstagramHere are the 6 main reasons why I loved Instagram and used it daily for almost 2 years:

  1. Filters, frames, rotation, & tilt-shift
    Looking back at my first Instagram pictures now, I cringe at the overuse of filters, frames and other atrocities, but these could make a photo look a little different, highlight good parts or hide bad lighting – in my ‘3GS frame-of-mind’ anyway!  Tilt-shift was a quick and easy way to blur the background or just highlight parts of a photo.  Instagram also added new filters and functionality later.
  2. A new social network, focussed on photos
    There was a whole new world to be explored in Instagram – I quickly made ‘friends’ with and started following someone in Japan who posted beautiful scenery, a young mother in Singapore who posted every meal she prepared for her family, a Norwegian Forest Cat breeder who posted the most amazing photos of her stunning cats, professional photographers highlighting their skills, and of course my local friends and acquaintances who had iPhones and were sharing everything they saw!
  3. Covering my favourite platforms
    I could post every pic to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – all within a few taps and with one message!  Instagram later added other platforms too, but I stuck to my favourites.  The choice was always there not to post a pic to Facebook for eg. if it wasn’t going to be interesting to my Facebook friends, or sometimes I only posted a pic to Instagram and chose not to post it to Twitter or Facebook.
  4. Cropping
    I quickly figured out that it was best to take the photos using the iPhone camera, then open it in Instagram for ‘tweaking’ and posting as this allowed me to crop the photos in my own weird ways.  It helped ensure that I kept the original and could take a few pics to choose from – I had a lot of free space on my 32Gb phone, and once a Photoshop user one can never have too many originals!
  5. Likes & comments
    Other users liked and commented on my photos, and what an ego-trip that was! At first I chose to be notified every time someone liked a photo I posted but the better my photos got, and the more Instagram followers I had, this was soon turned off.  In comments, you could mention other users, and they were notified much like Twitter.  I built a nice community of friends and followers on Instagram, and I am sad to lose that, but sometimes we have to make changes to move forward!
  6. Hashtags
    Using hashtags eg. #flower #blackcats #capetown in a comment on each photo, similar photos were ‘grouped’ together in one feed, and one could easily find other users posting similar photos to follow, or just look at what everyone is having for #dinner.  Hashtags were ‘claimed’ and when you hashtagged a photo with, for example, #macro_perfection you were automatically entered into ‘competitions’ where a winner was selected by the hashtag owner and reposted for voting.  This made gathering new followers easier and grouped users with similar interests together.

At this point you are probably wondering why I am talking in the past tense here?  Please read the next post: ‘Why I left Instagram‘.