The release of the iPhone 4s is an event in my lifetime that I will always remember. It was when I finally joined the smartphone generation. I am a devoted fan of Apple products, and shortly after it was released, I became the proud owner of an iPhone 4s. But this article is not about the iPhone 4s. It is not about the exciting new features that came with the 4s such as its faster processer, the new camera, or even Siri. This article is about another treasure that I discovered when I got my iPhone 4s. It is about a wonderful app called Instagram. At the time, Instagram was only available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod owners and was only used by about 30 million people. At first, I did not understand the full potential of the application. In fact, my very first post on Instagram was just a picture of my almost empty cereal bowl in my college cafeteria that was taken by my sister. However, it did not take me long to realize Instagram’s potential, and for the rest of my life I can proudly say that I was one of the first 30 millions users on Instagram. One in thirty million may not sound like that big of a deal, but when you consider that Instagram now has over 100 million users and continues to grow rapidly, it become much more significant. To me it does anyway. But how has this social media service become so popular in less than 3 years, and what exactly is ‘the Instagram’? That is what this article is all about.
Instagram is a social network created in October of 2010 that allows users to share photos. Users can apply digital filters (e.g. black and white) to their photos and then share them on other sites besides Instagram such as Facebook and Twitter. Users can also add captions to their photos. At first Instagram was only available in the Apple App Store but in April 2012 it became available on Google Play (formerly known as the Android Market), and just over a week later it was purchased by Facebook. The number of users skyrocketed, and Instagram started to become a household name.
Instagram has become popular among young people who are looking for new alternatives to Facebook. Instagram is a place that is virtually free of the drama, negativity, and rhetoric that dominates so many other social networks. Instagram is my favorite social network because it is a community of people sharing photos of the interesting, humorous, and beautiful things that they experience in their everyday lives. The only posts that show up in my feed are photos by my friends and other users, which I have chosen to follow that share content that interests me. Although I still like Facebook, I find that viewing pictures of the things that my friends and other like-minded individuals find enjoyable is much more preferable than being bombarded by the opinionated people and advertisements of Facebook. Another great thing about Instagram is that, like Twitter, you can create and search hashtags to take part in trending topics. I recently became interested in vegan grilling and other health food trends. I use Instagram to share the foods and drinks that I make, and to see what similar foods my friends and other people are making. It is also a fun way to share big events that are going on in your life. Pictures are much more entertaining and tell a better story than a status update or tweet.
Because it is a photo-sharing network, the danger of inappropriate content circulating around Instagram immediately arises. However, Instagram has made headlines due to their efforts to promote a positive atmosphere. Instagram does not allow violent, offensive, nude, or sexually suggestive photos on the network, and has done an admirable job of keeping it clean. You choose the users that you wish to follow, and you see only content that is posted by them. Therefore, unless someone you have chosen to follow is posting inappropriate content, it is unlikely that you will encounter offensive material. I also appreciate Instagram because scrolling through your feed is simple and fast, and I do not waste as much time as I would on Facebook.
Instagram became my favorite social network because it was a creative and fun way to share my interests and discover new ones. If you are someone who enjoys the more creative aspects of social media, I recommend you check out Instagram, and maybe you can one day say that you were one of the first 130 million Instagram users. If you already use Instagram, then you already know what I’m talking about! People ramble and rant on Facebook, Twitter only lets you use 140 characters, but Instagram lets you share photographs that are worth a thousand, beautiful words.