Launched in October 2010, Instagram is an online photo sharing service that has taken the world by storm. By its third month of existence, it had gained its first million registered users. Today, it boasts in excess of 300 million regular monthly users with hundreds of millions of photos uploaded. The company was purchased by Facebook for around a billion dollars in cash and stock in 2012.
There are plenty of other photo sharing services online, many of which have existed long before Instagram, so what makes Instagram different?
Instagram makes it easy for users to enhance and manipulate their photos by using filters, each filter employs preset adjustments to color, tint and brightness to give the picture a unique and professional look.
The Instagram app is available for free for iPhones and Android phones / devices. Once you’ve downloaded it, you can take a picture, choose a filter, add a caption if you like and instantly post it to your Instagram account. Think about that for a minute, it’s free, quick and extremely easy to do all of those things with your phone.
Instagram is actually as much about social networking as it is about photo sharing, users can follow one anothers photo streams, allowing their photos to show up in their feeds as they are posted. They can “like” and comment on photos and they can also easily share their Instagram photos on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram users can choose to display their photos on a Photo Map, which organizes the photographs according to where they were taken and displays them on a map. Photos can be added to the map when they are uploaded or at a time afterwards. You can also remove photos from your map or turn off photo mapping altogether should you wish.
The popularity of Instagram has made it a useful tool for businesses, marketers can share photographs of products, services and events with their followers, enticing them to interact with and learn more about their businesses. They can also set images to post to their other social media accounts, giving them an easy way to add content and additional opportunities to engage their audience on other platforms.