What exactly is Instagram?

What is Instagram and how does it work ?

Instagram

 Instagram is an online photo sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures, apply digital filters to it, and share them on a variety of social networking service. These  media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October, 2010. Today it has  around 90 million monthly active users.  Instagram is available on Apple and Androids as an application. This has always been an almost exclusively mobile platform. In order to use it, you must download the iPhone or Android app to your device to register an Instagram account. These accounts are public by default, but you can create a private account. In that case, only users who you approve may follow you and view your photos. Head to your profile tab and scroll down to “Privacy.” There, you can choose to make photos private.

Once registered, change your profile picture and edit your profile information, which includes a brief 150-character bio and a website. This product does not have a web hosted feed for photographs and you will probably need to do most of your browsing on your mobile device.  To make this easier you can set up push notifications. This is pretty easy but depends on what you want.

  1. You can be notified if a user comments or likes one of your photos
  2. You can be notified if a user mentions you in another comment
  3. You can be notified if your photo is posted to the Popular page.

In order to do this on your iOS device you will need to exit the app and go to the settings on our phone.  From there find the Instagram shortcut in the Notification Center and configure your preferences for notification.

If you have an Android go to Settings >Edit Profile >Push Notifications.  If you don’t want external notifications you will still be able to check on your app for your account activity. New user and comments appear in the News secton of the app.  The icon is distinctive in that it looks like a speech bubble with a heart inside.

If you would like to spread your photos and use them on social networks you need to link them to the relevant ones that interest you.  Twitter, Facebook, Foursqure, Tumblr,  and Flickr are among those used the most.

To connect social accounts, head to the Profile Tab > Edit Sharing Settings, then choose the network you wish to connect.

Each time you upload a photo to Instagram, you’ll have the option to share to each of the social networks you’ve enabled. You can also opt to use none of the social networks. If you do so, the photo will post only to Instagram, viewable only by those users who follow you on the app.

 

Now to add a photo you will need to find the blue camera button in the centre of the Instagram panel.  By default, you are activating the device’s camera and you may then snap a photo or chose a picture already saved to your phone.  If you have a photo on your phone, click on the double square button on the lower left hand side of the screen.  Bear in mind that Instagram sizes photos to perfect squares and so you might need to crop or manage your photos.

This application is so much fun as it allows for filters and borders to be added. There are 17 really amazing filters which add pre-determined layers to your pictures.  It gives the feeling of professional editing or photo shopping.  Many filters add that vintage effect you might have seen on Facebook.  The best part is playing around to get the look you want as there are ones for outdoors, personal portraits, intense colour and just plain odd definition.  Each filter has its own border and could add another dimension to your photos. You can do away with the border feature though by tapping on the square frame on the upper left hand side of the screen used for editing.

Ok once you have done this and you are ready to share your amazing photograph, click the green tick checkmark. You can then add a caption just like you would do on any other social media. Add a place, funny quote etc. A good tip for sharing on Twitter is to add a category hashtag or @mention.  You can also enable a location service or just use the caption area to add interesting information about the photograph.  Click the social media where you would like to share.

 

And there you are … your photos are out there for all to see.   We will investigate some other features and options on Instagram in a second article. So watch this space on Imagi-nation.

 

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