Published on December 13th, 2012 | by Ramon Trotman6
What is Instagram? Here, let us explain
Surely you’ve at least heard the buzz word Instagram in passing by now. If not, there could only be a few reasons for this, no one loves you, no one talks to you or you just do not own an Apple product. Either way, Instagram might be something worth familiarizing yourself with.
Instagram’s official description is “It’s a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family.” That’s it, it really is that simple, I wont waste my time trying to over explain it because it can’t be. Think of it as a Twitter spin off with no words, just pictures. Once images are uploaded, users have the ability to “like” and comment as they please, they can even “mention” others in their posts.
But the app does not stop there, users are able to apply upwards of 17 filters to images to give them a really unique look. You can turn everything from stunning snapshots to not so good pics into works of arts by simply applying a filter. It is a bit hard to describe, but if you were to see it for yourself you’d immediately understand Instagram’s allure.
As an advanced Social Networkist (you like that? I just made it up, I am going to run with that from now on,) I have a very precise order in which I check my social networks for the day. Instagram has earned itself a spot in the cycle. First is facebook because most of my personal life and happenings go on there. Next is Twitter, this is where I keep tabs on what’s new for the day, a huge laser focused news source if you will. Lastly, the new comer, Instagram. Its not last on my rotation because it is or isn’t as good as the rest, I find looking at images relaxing and can be a great tool for setting up a good day.
As much as I enjoy Instagram, it is not without its faults. Truth be told, they really aren’t faults per say, but they bothered me none the less. The first is “who” you follow. Much like twitter and facebook, your feed is populated based on who you follow. By default, Instagram makes it super easy to find your friends and family by cross referencing your facebook, twitter, email and contacts. This was a killer feature, as I was up and running in no time. But I soon realized something, my friends and family really wasn’t posting anything too interesting to look at. It was mostly random passport style face shots with filters or uber annoying rants using services like Tweetgram.
This took me for a loop. Here I was trying to see the world from a different perspective through images and I was now stuck with Facebook pictures and Twitter tweets. Really? What was the solution? There is none, this is the culture of Instagram for a many few people. Perhaps educating everyone on the true purpose of the app so as to improve the content might work, or simply un-follow everyone.
The second flaw of Instagram is it’s exclusivity to the iOS platform. The app is currently only available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Although, the Android version is inching ever so close, as the landing page for the app went up a few days ago. While iOS and Android covers a huge chunk of the smartphone market, there are still other platforms out there not able to join in on the fun. Case and point is my beloved Windows Phone. Interestingly enough, there is a Windows Phone app called Instacam. The app itself is beautiful and really showcases Metro UI’s power, but you can only view images, you cannot comment or like. I had a brief chat with the developer and he informed me the folks over at Instagram did not share interest in opening up their API’s to allow 3rd party apps to contribute. My last annoyance is the lack of ability to re-share images. I’ve seen some truly amazing images on Instagram, many of which I wish I could have re-shared for my friends to see, still no word on what or if that feature will ever come, but it sure would be nice to have it.
Minor quarrels aside, Instagram is the newest of the “Must have apps” that fuels the iOS world. With 15 million plus users, this thing isn’t going to slow down any time soon. I would love to see it spread to more platforms, even a web based model would be cool! If you currently own an “i” device, run…not walk to the app store and check it out!