I use a lot of social networks for a variety of different reasons and yet there is a relatively unknown, mobile-based social network that has caught my attention – and imagination!
Instagram is an iOS-only photo sharing app with a difference: it allows you to apply a series of different filters and effects to your pictures, turning them from seemingly throw-away snaps into beautiful, retro-themed masterpieces. Chris Brogan recently joked that “it’s like turning your insignificant photos of your life into instant album covers for fake albums”.
I’ve really taken a shine to Instagram and I’ve got a few thoughts as to why it’s proving to be a winner with others, too:
A richer social experience
Since joining Instagram and building my network, I’ve found that it’s more than just about posting photos. As with any successful social network, Instagram works because of the community and associations you make with other ‘Instgrammers’.
The act of starting and joining conversations based around interesting and thought-provoking photographs has given me a richer social experience. Photography is a very emotive medium and it feels very rewarding to see that someone has commented on or ‘liked’ something that you’ve created.
Connect with new people
By checking out what other people in my network are ‘liking’ and commenting on as well as what’s ‘popular’ on Instagram, I’ve found a whole host of new people to friend and follow.
I often follow people on social networks based on what they write yet Instagram allows me to follow people based on the photos they post. This adds a new dynamic to the social experience and allows me to connect with people based solely on the photos they create.
Reach out to other social networks
This is a great feature because in addition to giving Instagram increased awareness across other platforms it also allows you to share what you’ve created with others who are not part of Instagram.
Instagram works because it is fun, simple and gives people a reason to keep coming back, i.e. to create more interesting photos and see what others have produced, too. I’m not a photographer but Instagram makes me feel as though I am and that’s a lot of fun!
By creating a different, mobile-only photo sharing app Instagram has created a niche social network that stands from similar sites such as Flickr and Picasa. It will be interesting to see how Instagram evolves and develops and I’d like to see it rolled out across other operating systems so that the network can grow.
Do you use Instagram? What do you like (and dislike) about the app? And what do you think is it potential?