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The app that captured the hearts of 30 million…but will it get mine?

instagram-homepage              No doubt you have heard of it, and most likely you are even a member… at the very least you’ve thought about it. Instagram is the online photo and (most recently) video sharing social networking service that has taken the world by storm. This app allows the everyday individual to express their lives though the medium of digital photography and videography simply by using their smartphones. Even more important, it has created a new social media “club” that I now want to be a part of! Enlisting my friends, celebrities, athletes, fashion designers, brands, bloggers… if it has a name it probably has an Instgram account. So what’s this apps billion dollar secret?…let’s investigate! First and foremost there is Instagram’s photo booth application. This allows people to take pictures using the Instagram app or with their own phones camera and subsequently uploading it to share with rest of the world. By far the apfiltersplication’s most appealing feature is its ability to use specialized filters to edit your own photos with. Selections that sound as tempting as Valencia, Sierra and Toaster it’s no wonder users are eating these features up. People have gone as far as saying that Instagram has made its place as a new form of modern art, an idea that I felt was far-fetched until I learned that the Museum for Modern Art (MoMA) itself had its own Instagram account  ! I suppose the definition of art has always been vague, but in today’s society we are stretching its limits even more as we add an increasing level of technology to the mix. I personally found that the explanation given by students at the University of South Carolina summed this controversy up well as they stated:  “Art now became a movement into a world of color and expression, a world where an apple is only a blotch of red pigment or a toilet is a work of art, leaving more than a few people wondering what can be considered art.” So is Instagram actually enabling people to create art from their everyday lives? In the minds and eyes of its users… YES! The allure of Instagram is that it enables the common person to take professional-looking photographs with their smartphones. Pair that with a side of social media and you’ll understand how Instagram provides its users with insta-gratification

Certainly the underlying attribute that makes Instagram such a crave-able application is its ability to seamlessly connect with social media networks that people already have subscribed to, including: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare just to name a few. This display of adaptability is the reason why Facebook decided to purchase Instagram last year; creating a marriage between this match made in heaven.  Anyone moderately up-to-date with the social media realm will tell you that the age of senseless status updates and lengthy wall posts is a thing of the past; the new generation is all about keeping it short and sweet…not to mention more esthetically pleasing.  Now that the world portrays their lives through snapshots it seems that a new “seeing is believing” mentality has been adopted in which anything and everything in our lives has become susceptible to photo documentation. Obviously there is a very ‘shallow’ side to Instagram but with its roots having a place in social media it also has created a sense of community. This community is full of like-minded people who share common interests and whom now have a means of communicating and coming together under one common medium. In fact many Instagram users have now gone beyond connecting virtually and have held “ InstaMeetups”, where users meet in-person and take pictures, have coffee, share photo tips and  much much more! So if making your online friends a reality interests you look up an InstaMeetup in your area!

The first social media application to actually promote social interaction is not something that goes unnoticed in today’s world of careless online relationships, thus it has become the topic of a recent documentary called Instagram is”. The film pays homage to the fact that Instagram is more than just an application that takes pictures; it is a loving, caring and sharing community. People sharing their stories about how Instagram has changed their lives (for the better I’m assuming) is a tribute to the kinds of loyal followers that Instgram has. OR is this just another demonstration of how this app can turn your carefree photography hobby into an addiction?…If that’s even possible.

According to numerous sources internet addiction is gaining recognition as an official disorder, with social media being one of its foremost contributors. Whether it is classified as a disorder or not I can attest to Instgram being addictive—my spouse for example, he can be spotted at any hour of the day flipping through his feed, and I don’t even consider him to be an avid social networker. But taking into account all of its fancy filters, adaptable gadgets and let’s not forget continuous stream of entertainment who wouldn’t indulge, right? If you think you might be developing an addiction, or if you’re interested in learning about the symptoms of Instgram addiction, including those of: uploading a picture of everything you eat before you eat it, and deciding on your daily outfit based on how it looks under a certain filter.

Here is the trailer for the documentary video “Instagram is.” You must admit it does pull on your heartstrings a bit… and coincidently makes me want to join!

WHAT’S NEW @ INSTAGRAM ?logo

Video– It’s going to be an inevitably bright future for Instagram as its new boss; Facebook is already implementing its will on the company by recently adding video recording to its list of functions. For some users this has been regarded as tainting the beauty of Instagram, while for most others it has come as a welcome addition to their social media entourage. Despite the ho-hums about Instagram video its presence seems to be gaining momentum; acquiring over 5 million video uploads within its first 24 hours of operation. Despite the success of its launch Instagram video is up against some stiff competition, including Vine and Viddy. With an all-out video war ensue let’s do a breakdown of the three apps to see what each company is offering:

Instagram Video

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 Vine

V

 

     Viddy

viddy

FILTERS 13 new filters No filters available 15 filters, also an option of shooting with constant flash
TIMING 15 seconds 6 seconds 30 seconds
 EDITING Built-in ‘cinema’ option which improves the overall stability of your   video No editing options You can add a frame which helps level your video or add music
 COMMUNITY Strong creative vibe which sprouts from their photo-app community Still in an experimental phase but gaining a reputation for being fun   and quirky Large all-inclusive community, but can be difficult to find a niche   for your videos
FEED  insta thread  vine thread  viddy thread

Overall each video application is quite similar and it comes down to (a) what you’re trying to record and (b) your individual preference. In my opinion, I would choose Instgram video over the others simply out of convenience. In my mind if I have to set up a new account, it might as well be one where I can share both my pictures and videos in the same place… and a full 15 seconds of fame isn’t too shabby either. Barely making the cut is Vine with only 6 seconds of recording time. Personally, I consider it to be more of a “fun” video application; full of memes rather than meaningful recordings. But that’s just my inexperienced opinion and I would like to take the time now to mention that I am open to comments and suggestions regarding all three video apps that I have reviewed today. I look forward to reading about your experiences with the applications and soon enough I will be able to share my own!

photo-1InstaFeed2InstaFeed1     InstaFeed—This new addition to the Instagram family is a function that lets you look up pictures of things that you’re interested in (ie: cute pets, celebrities, sports etc.). According to Instagram this new function is hoping to encourage people to collect and share more photos, aside from the ones that they take themselves. In this way InstaFeed has been compared to the likes of Pinterest.  The way the feed works is it takes the topic which you are searching and show you Instagram profiles which have been dubbed to have a particular focus on said topic. It’s an interesting feature that provides an outlet for its users to connect with people whom they may have thought to search for, after all Instagram has always been one to highlight its social side.

…GOING BEYOND THE APP

It seems that everyone is looking to cash in on the Instagram craze, with new apps being introduced on the daily you can do more with your Instagram shots now than ever before!

po   postagramThis neat little app allows you to print and send real postcards in the mail using photos from your Instagram profile. It’s simple, fun and affordable at only $0.99 per card. If you have friends across the country as I do, this app is a perfect way to send a message with a personal touch.

mapmapstagramThis is one of the latest takeoffs from Instagram and involves users posting pictures and it being tracked in real-time on a Google map.  The cool thing about this app is that you can see who’s taking pictures in your area, or in a city across the country. Currently it is only active for major North American cities but as the buzz around this app continues you can be sure that it will be stepping up to the international scale shortly.

 

insinstaprintThis is definitely my most favorite Instgram gadget that I have come across yet. Instaprint is a small box that you assign a hashtag to and every time someone takes a picture with that specific hashtag designated to it a the Instaprint box spits out a polaroid print of that photo! This might not be the most practical device you ever purchase but just think of all of the possibilities when it comes to events such as: birthday parties, weddings, graduations and family gatherings. At the very least this Instaprint gadget is a conversation starter in a box.

The Pros and Cons of it all

When it comes down to finally making a decision on whether or not to join the Instagram revolution I’m a bit stuck on the fence. You see all of these special features and gadgets are very tempting but I question whether I may be opening yet another social media door that I will loose the will to shut. I am one of those people who signs onto Facebook with the intention of a 5 minute update, then after an hour rolls by I look at the clock and realize how much time I’ve wasted. But Hey! Isn’t that what social media is all about; social indulgence. So I’ve decided to let down my studious guard and allow myself to be embraced by the arms of the Instagram community. So who knows what my future holds for me now, maybe a new friend? Maybe a new social media addiction?…whatever it may be I know that it will at least come with a pretty picture

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