As I downloaded yet another useful app yesterday, I stopped to cogitate (yes, I had to use that word) on all the amazing digital resources that I interact with on a daily basis. The online resources, apps, websites and portals that help me create, file, share and learn. I have a library of hundreds and a handy, much-loved collection of ten or so which drive my daily work flow and business interactions. Many of which you’d no doubt also consider to be the protagonists in your own digital arsenal. I’m talking about the likes of Evernote, Dropbox, Skype, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Google Maps and yes – a handful of social media platforms.
Although the phrase has already become a little “dirty”, one cannot go past the fact that social media is inordinately powerful. Like infinitely, madly, hugely, significantly, outrageously powerful. Did you know that Youtube is the second most frequented search engine after Google? That YouTube gets more than 1 billion unique visitors every month? That the Pinterest iPhone app is downloaded 200,000 time per/day and that the platform has over 2 billion page views per month and over 4 million daily unique visitors? That people are leveraging their brand, their products, their lives through social media in powerful ways that we couldn’t possibly imagine?
I’m no psychologist but at our core, we all love to talk, share and engage in some sneak-peeking, sticky-beaking and behind-the-scenes-ing. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be less interested in what X had for breakfast. Or that Y loves her new car. But if X or Y took a friggin’ fantastic shot of their breakfast or new car, I might be interested. We are honestly drowning under a violent wave of visual spew. So spare me the visual bile. Show me the good stuff.
And that’s why I’m loving Instagram.
Yip, that viral photographic-social-media-share tool. The one that Facebook bought for 1 BILLION dollars. You have to sit up and take notice when FB buys anything. But a 1 BILLION dollar investment really got my attention. I know what you’re thinking. As a photographer, this should have been my go-t0 platform from the get-go. In fact, Instagram has been sitting on my iPhone desktop for three years, languishing in my photo-app folder, along with some other tacky apps that offer retro-style filters and the like. I just simply associated it with the pre-mentioned filters and couldn’t bear to engage with it all. Call me a purist, but bastardising shots with cheap filters is just not for me.
But then this lovely lady (who I’ll be writing about a lot more in upcoming posts) re-introduced me to the wonders of the insta-world and suffice it to say, I am now completely and utterly hooked. There are two reasons for this. The first is that I love sharing my images with others. Instagram is the perfect tool in which to share. It’s quick and simple and pretty much exclusive to mobile phone usage, so people are interacting with it and updating their feeds constantly. The second is that I can follow other people whose images I LOVE. And I’m selective. Instagram is a quick-time version of Pinterest for me, in that it is a visual pinboard, the content of which I can curate by carefully selecting who I follow. It’s a genuine source of daily inspiration. I follow photographers I admire, magazines I love, style gurus, architecture fanatics, food bloggers and the people that make – and don’t just take – images. People like Ariele Alasko, Trish Papadakos, Alice Gao, Heltenkelt, Nikole Herriott Room on Fire and Cup of Herbal Tea
And in this overwhelmingly digitally visual age, where social media is everything, there are many ways to use the platform to leverage one’s brand and business. Although I think that many (most?) people use the platform as a personal photo library, I think that before long the platform will integrate other popular social media outlets, further business branding, online shopping and everything else that follows.
So, this is where you can find me on Instagram. I post a wide variety of lifestyle and travel shots which I often edit using VscoCam. VscoCam is an editing app from the awesome developers behind VSCO (visual supply co). They also recently developed Vsco Grid which is a free online photographic portfolio platform. Check mine out here.
So Instagrammers – if you dig it, follow me. Potential Instagrammers – sign up and get into it.
But you have been warned. Severe addiction can result.