Photo sharing app Instagram connects students

July 18, 2012 Review Print Print
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There are more than 500,000 iPhone applications and more than 200 of those are photography related. So what makes Burbn, Inc.’s Instagram different?

Instagram is a photo sharing application which allows users to upload original photographs with 17 default filter options and sharing capabilities via Facebook and Twitter.

The difference is that Instagram is more than just a cell phone application; it is a community of people all around the world who share an appreciation for illustrating their lives via photography — professionals and amateurs alike. Everyone from students, parents, celebrities, companies and fashionistas are on instagram.

This community is facilitated through the Instagram Blog (blog.instagram.com) which features user uploaded photos from the application — citizen (photo) journalism at its finest.

The blog is organized weekly with different categories as means of grouping and displaying Instagram photography.

The saying, “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” not only comes to mind but perfectly describes the experience of scrolling down the blog’s web page as the user is greeted by a stream of photos presented in various categories grouped by relevance via Hashtags (#).

A hashtag is created by putting a pound symbol (#) followed by a word or a phrase that must contain no spaces or symbols in order to work. Hashtags also are utilized in the social medium Twitter as a means of flagging subjects in order to combine common interests and thus facilitate a larger conversation on a broader level.

Similarly, Instagram incorporates user hashtags located in the photo captions in order to categorize pictures with similar subjects, themes etc.

With this generation of instantaneous information, technology is practically embedded in our society.

Devices such as the cellular phone have nearly become a permanent accessory and through these accessories people from all over have the ability to stay connected to one another via social media such as facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Student Mariah Johnson has been using Instagram for two months and already has collected 167 photographs.

“I love it,” she said, “ I think it’s cool to give others a visual of what you are doing instead of posting your location or what you are doing.”

The visual aspect of the application is what seems to get everyone on board. One is able to scroll through snippets of their friends lives as they scroll through the timeline of photographs.

“Sometimes a picture just says it better,” student Alexis Jimenez said. “I definitely like Instagram better [than Twitter]. It isn’t so much reading. It’s just straight to the point.”

A favorite among Instagramers is the blog’s Weekend Hashtag Projects in which the users are asked to take photos that follow along the lines of a specific hashtag, then label their photos with said hashtag.

In the past month Instagram has had users respond in a variety of ways to these weekend projects. An “art in my latte” hashtag (#artinmylatte) featured an array of photos depicting everything from hearts and animals to symmetrical and abstract patterns made in latte foam.

The following week was themed “out to dry” where users submitted photos of anything and everything laying out to dry — laundry and paintbrushes, to severed octopus tentacles hanging on a circular drying rack.

A few more have included “handmade letters” and “watching watchers,” all open to interpretation by the user and his or her creative eye.

In addition to these community projects, Instagram’s blog publishes “Photo Features.”

These encompass a broad spectrum of subjects both local and worldwide and have included features such as the many celebrations of the summer solstice around the world. Times Square in New York was filled with “yoga enthusiasts” in celebration of the summer commencement for a come one come all yoga class.

Stonehenge in England attracted people from all over who participated in a night-long celebration to greet the sun the morning of June 20.

Instagram is advanced technology with an old-time feel while it brings communities together and allows people from all over the world to share the wonders of life in a creative and exciting way.

Rating: A

To contact Rebecca McKinney, email onlineeditor@occc.edu.

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