Friday, February 15, 2013

Teen Trend: Instagram

Something my students are currently obsessed with? Instagram.

Some of the filter and frame options
available on Instagram (source)
Instagram is a cell phone app that is all about sharing photos. You snap a photo on your camera, then upload it to Instagram, where you can slap a number of filters on it, use a blur tool, add a frame, and brighten it up if you want to. (If you've never used it before, here's a detailed tutorial.)

But it's not just about editing your own photos. It's also about sharing them. Much like facebook, you have a stream of photos from the people you follow that you can scroll through, comment on, and like. I like to say Instagram is all the fun photo sharing of facebook with none of the annoying political commentary and pointless blabber. Just the lunch pictures, baby pictures, and overexposed selfies. But it's so much fun.

The typical Instagram profile (source)
For example, I've found that following celebrities on Instagram is a lot more fun than following them on Twitter. On Twitter I find out that they are completely un-funny, sometimes offensive, and usually can't even spell. But on Instagram, they just post fun pictures of themselves, so I don't have to deal with how annoying they are and just focus on the pretty.

And this is what is so much fun to the teens in my life: posting pictures - of themselves, of their friends, of things they think are funny - and getting instant feedback. It's everything teens like...visual, instant, and interactive. You don't have to follow everyone who follows you, and you can comment on pictures or just like them. It's easy to browse and even easier to interact.

(I listened to one of my girls talk for 15 minutes about the strategies she has for getting more likes on her photos. It involved visiting certain celeb feeds, commenting, hashtagging, and a bunch of other lengths I would never go through to get likes on my photos, but I'm old, so what do I know?)

One of my personal favorite Instagrams to follow? It's called targetdoesitagain, and the two ladies who run it tear through their local Target finding all of the awesome things I should be buying. Sure, it's made my final bill at Target fly through the room when I only go in for Q-Tips, but I would never be able to find these cute things without their guidance. And if you want to see tons of adorable dog pictures, here's me. I'm obsessed with my doggy.

There were recently some concerns about Instagram's privacy policy, but it seems like most of the outrage has died out with an update from the app, and everything seems back to business as usual. I know my feed is just as busy as it always has been.

Are you on Instagram? How do you use the app? Do you know any awesome accounts we should be following? Want to share your own Instagram name?


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