Instagram – Visually capturing and sharing the world’s favourite moments

Instagram is a photo sharing social media app. It is a simple and very popular form of visual communication. People throughout the world can post photos of their lives, their passions, their interests, the environment and the world around them. It is one of my favourite apps around today.

Users can search and follow all different types of pages, any interests one has you’d be sure there’s an Instagram page dedicated to it. Also having the capability to like and comment on photos they see on these pages they are following. One of my favourite parts is following celebrities, seeing what’s happening in their lives and also things such as fashion they like, tropical places they visit and charities which they are involved in. Figure 1 shows an example of a page, this is the official Instagram page which 6.4 million users currently follow.


 Figure 1 [1]

Instagram was started in 2010 by two men, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. The two men were very lucky as their ideas did not take long to become a reality and did not take long to become popular throughout the world having 10,000 users within its first hour of publication [2]. The potential of this app was obvious from very early on, having 1 million users after the first 2 months and 15 million users 14 months after it first got launched.

2 months later in April 2012, Facebook purchased the app for $1 billion, the company at the time having only 13 employees [2]. Today there are more than 150 million active users, the US, Japan and Brazil containing the most users, 16 billion photos shared in total, an average of 55 million photos shared per day and 1.2 billion photos liked per day [3]. I myself have only shared 55 photos over the past 11 months of having the app but I follow 275 pages which post much more often than I do which keeps the app interesting and informative.

When the founders were creating Instagram, they decided to completely strip it back to an app which has only the features to upload photos, comment and like.  Systrom said,

“The lesson I’ve learned is that you need to make sure to always cut what doesn’t work, cut the stuff that isn’t popular, and focus on continually improving your product and your focus….” [4]

This was a bold move which really paid off. The simplicity of the app is, to me, one of the most appealing features. It is a very easy and nice way of seeing what your friends are doing whether they’re at home or away, seeing what celebrities do, following fitness and healthy eating plans, seeing beautiful pictures of places in the world you might only dream of visiting and much more.

~ Finola Barry

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