Over the past few weeks I have been blogging about Instagram, a social media app where people can share their own photos and follow others doing the same. As an information system it receives millions of photos a day, storing them in the company system, releasing them on the user’s page and much more. It has grown at a rapid rate since its beginnings in October 2010.

It was fast growing from the beginning and the giant social media site that is Facebook could see this. In April 2012 after only 15 months of existence, Facebook purchase Instagram for $1 billion. Many thought this would have a huge impact on the app, thinking changes would come to a highly respected and loved, personal and intimate app. However, today after 2 years of the app being under Facebook’s wing there has been very few changes, much to the delight of its 150 million users [1].

Changes which have been made are minimal updates in the animations and the aesthetics. The ability to rotate your photos to a certain degree left or right. Direct and private photo messages, where the user can choose one or however many of their followers to see a photo, without it showing up on their page.

Another major change, the biggest for the app was introducing a video uploading option. No longer only a photo sharing site, users can now record and share videos, also with the ability of adding a filter which is one of the most popular features of the app. The video option became available only 8 months ago, and now 6% of all posts on the app are videos [1].


The popularity of Instagram has never slowed down. It has completely beaten out the competition in this field. The app is used by 13% of all internet users [1]. In 2012 there was an article posted on the alternative apps one could use if they did not want to use Instagram, these includes Snapseed, Hipstamatic and Path [3], all of which I have never heard of and are relatively unused compared to Instagram now.

Instagram is the fastest growing social media site globally [4]. Given the ginormous increase in the use of smartphones, the accessibility and ease of use of this app on people’s mobiles is what makes it so popular and continuously growing. The chart below shows the growth of social media apps from the beginning to the end of the year 2013 [4].


As the popularity in smartphones increases, I believe that Instagram’s popularity will increase alongside it. It has so many positive qualities, including really listening and complying with what its users wants. This is one of the main aspects of why Instagram is such a loved and popular app. It didn’t change its vision or objectives when it got taken over by Facebook. It stayed true to being a private and personal photo sharing app, only willing to enhance features which were important to the users.

I believe Instagram have done it right, after all the users are the ones keeping the app alive so it should be them who get a say and get their opinions heard on features and changes. It is definitely still my favourite app as it’s personal, interesting, expressive and fun. A user can be creative, can find inspiration from others and see really life pictures of anything they wish. I can see Instagram continuing to have a firm stance in social networking and a continuously growing rate of popularity. People now a days love to know what is going on in other people’s lives, in different countries around the world and in areas they are interested in or dream to be a part of. We also love to share. Share our lives, our experiences, our relationships, our passions. Nothing is off limits when there are some many people around the world doing so many different things. Photos are intimate, informative, relatable, unique and build up over years to keep ones favourite memories alive. Instagram allows these memories to be stored and shared, and for that it is no wonder it is such a popular and loved app.


 ~ Finola Barry

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