Instagram, which describes itself as “fast, beautiful photo sharing for your iPhone”, has become one of my favorite apps over the past six months. It passed my second screen sniff test and has now become a permanent fixture on the first screen. I wrote a little about why I now love Instagram in this post: Why and how I use WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram and Foursquare.
After reading the book Onward, I was infected by Schultz’s passion for coffee and ever since have enjoyed a french press at my house. I’m currently 2/3 of the way through the Steve Jobs book by Isaacson and I’m already finding myself interested more in design as Jobs was so passionate about it.
And so in reflecting on why I gave Instagram so much attention I realized that it was because I was influenced by a few folks at Engauge that are huge Instagram fanatics. I decided it would be fun to do a Q&A with them on why they love Instagram so much.
How do you use Instagram today?
@ktmel: I use Instagram to capture life moments and share them with family, friends and followers. Top 4 reasons that I love Instagram:
1. Pictures are worth a million words. I love documenting life :)
2. The app makes sharing on different social networks seemless.
3. The various photo filters make every iPhone photo looks artistic.
4. It is free!
@leesnewton: I use it to take pictures of things that I find interesting & that I think others would find interesting. I’m not too into taking pictures of everything & instaspamming everyone. Sometimes I do take random shots though if I’m feeling artsy.
And why do you use it instead of other services that do similar things?
@leesnewton: I think the sheer number of other people (especially friends) that use it is what keeps me on this instead of other platforms. Plus it’s super simple to use and the features rock.
- Instagram was one of the first photosharing that captured my attention and held it. I continue to test other photo sharing apps, but another app/services has yet to pull me away from Instagram.
- Great user experience: Instagram has found a great balance between giving users choices and not overwhelming them with a million options. This balance makes it a bit easier for users to make decisions.
- Viewing: The home view feed allows users to easily scroll through their friends photos in real-time. My cousin does not like Twitter, but she loves been able to scroll through and “share life” with me via Instagram.
- Interacting: The two simple ways of interaction (liking and commenting) allow users to engage with little effort and not too much thought. I can like a photo with a simple click and continue to scroll through my feed.
- Sharing: Instagram knew who/where to integrate with for sharing. If they had included too many platforms to share on then users would be overwhelmed by the choices (as well as initial set up of each platform).
- It is free :)
How often do you post?
@leesnewton: Sometimes I’ll go days without posting, sometimes I’ll post like 6 times in a day. No real plan or strategy.
@ktmel: My posting frequency varies from day to day. I post when and where I am inspired, reminded of someone or simply want to capture a moment. Recently I realized that I seem to take/share more Instagram photos when I am having a great day :) I would guess that I average five Instagram posts a day.
What other services like Instagram do you use and how does that compare (Tumblr, etc)? How connected are these services to one another?
@ktmel: I try every sharing service that I can get my hands on because using these services is one of the best ways to learn. The “micro-blogging” or sharing services I use most often are Tumblr and Posterous. The visual appeal of Instagram, Tumblr and (recently) Posterous feeds provide users with similar experiences. Tumblr’s feed called the “dashboard” and Posterous’s new “reader” are similar to the visual scroll of Instagram’s feed; however, Tumblr and Posterous feeds extend content beyond photos with multi-media blog posts.
I send my Instagram photos to all the services with which they allow sharing. Currently Instagram allows users to send their photos to email, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Posterous, Tumblr and Twitter. Each of the “partner” services have their own unique strengths.
I have my own thoughts about when I share my Instagram photos to each service.
- Email: I do not use email much unless I know someone will not know how to access the other services. Email exclusivity would make sense; however, my Instagram feed is public so emailing does not make my photos exclusive. Email is simply a more direct/personal way to send the photos.
- Facebook: I never share my Instagram photos to Facebook via Instagram because I created a rule in http://ifttt.com/ to send all my Instagram photos to a Facebook album. Currently, Instagram does not provide the funtionally of storing photos in a Facebook album. When Instagram users share a photo directly to Facebook, Instagram simply post a link on the user’s Facebook wall.
- Flickr: I did not think my Instagram photos were Flickr quality (AKA beautiful enough) when I started using Instagram. I need to start share to Flickr more; however, it is simply not top-of-mind for me.
- Foursquare: If I can connect to my location, I almost always share.
- Posterous: My Posterous blog is more of my technology/professional blog. I began using Instagram for more personal reasons and therefore did not share to Posterous. I have begun to start more to Posterous as I use Instagram to document innovate ideas and moments at conferences.
- Tumblr: My Tumblr blog is my personal “life documentation” blog, therefore, I share Instagram photos to Tumblr quite enough. I post to Tumblr if I want my mom and close friends and family to see my photos.
- Twitter: I tweet Instagram photos all the time. All my followers know my passion for photo sharing in general. I connect with many different people on Twitter, therefore, I tweet most of my photos.
@leesnewton: I use Tumblr all day, every day. Every now and then I’ll post instagrams to tumblr but not that often. That’s about it, I pretty much never post pictures to Facebook or anything else.
What do you think about Instagram’s announcement that video is likely coming soon?
@leesnewton: It makes sense that they would go there. I wish they wouldn’t for the sheer sake of the weird crap that people are gonna post. There definitely needs to be a time limit for the viewers sake, and bandwidth/storage. Plus, it’s mobile… nobody wants to watch a long video on it.
@ktmel: I was thrilled to hear about the rumored video functionality! I’ve always enjoyed creating videos; however, I am not everyone or even the average user. It will be interesting to see how others react and use video sharing. People already share billions videos and Instagram can only make it easier. I hope Instagram will make video sharing as easy and visually appealing as their photo sharing. I look forward to seeing the decisions that Instagram team makes regarding length of video and whether they will stick to only filter editing or add in audio editing.
What do you wish Instagram would do that they currently don’t? Or fix?
- Character count. I wish there was a character count in the caption box. A character count would avoid sending tweets with cut off words.
- Auto-populated Twitter accounts. I wish Twitter account names of those I follow and mention in my photos would auto-populate. Instagram autopopulates name of those you follow on Instagram; however, I have to look up Twitter handles (or Facebook friends). This would be very difficult for Instagram because even Twitter and Facebook do not always make it easy to tag friends within their own services.
- Facebook albums. It would be great if Instagram allowed users to send photos directly to a Facebook album. This would avoid my use of iftt. I also do not love that all my photos are displayed in my friends’ news feeds. It would be great to have different options for Facebook photo sharing. Again, this is my perspective as a “super user.”
- Foursquare deal notifications. When I check-in on Foursquare when I share an Instagram photo; however, I wish I could see if there was a Foursquare deal at the venue I am sharing the photo of. @ratpack and I recently discussed increased use of Foursquare via Instagram sharing. I am not an avid Foursquare user unless I know I can get a deal; however, my check-ins increased tremendously through link my Instagram photos to a Foursquare location.
@leesnewton: Panoramic images would be awesome, but that would require images that aren’t squares. So I guess different shaped images. Maybe even a built-in diptic style functionality. They should allow you to choose image quality for output. That would help if you’re stuck in a crappy network area.
What are your three favorite Instagram photos you’ve posted (or 3 most recent that you liked)?