Social Media is engrained in our current culture. Everything we do is tweeted, photographed and documented. If you want to be part of the conversation, you have to be connected to the social bubble in one way or another; but we all have different needs and some outlets work better than others. As a student of the visual arts, I prefer Instagram.
I’ve had an Instagram account for a while now, but I’ve just recently started to ramp up my usage. Now that I’m more involved, I really love it. I’m not trying to make a claim that it’s better than any other platform, they all have their pros and cons. But I will give you a few reasons why, as a photographer, Instagram tickles my fancy a bit more than the other social networks.
I’m a portrait photographer and I like to transfer and absorb information visually. Instagram is perfect for that; it’s pretty much the only thing you can do. The interface is designed to be straight to the point: images and the occasional short video. It’s also beautifully streamlined, which makes it easy to assimilate all of the visual information the community throws at you. There’s no question that when you log onto Instagram, you’re logging on to a community of photographs.
This is the opposite of Twitter. Yes, you can share photos through Twitter, but that’s not the end-game. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then 140 characters just isn’t enough.
Instagram’s mobile application allows the images to take dominance and the web version has the same feel as an art gallery to which you are the curator. The simple design is almost elegant and you don’t have to worry about all of the distractions that you get with the sidebars and notifications of other social networks.
If you curate the people and friends that you follow, then taking time out to check your Instagram is, in a way, like taking a stroll through a small museum or art walk. It’s quaint in a way; which is a nice transition from the ad and app heavy Facebook.
A majority of the people that I follow on Instagram are other photographers and artists. This helps to inspire me and give me ideas for other creative endeavors. It’s also gives me a really warm feeling when I can have a brief conversation with other photographers, people that I may have never met otherwise, about their work. You do get the occasional “Click here for 1,000 free followers” post in your comments, but spam is a natural part of any social network.
Instagram is really good at suggesting images to like and people to follow. It studies the kinds of images that you upload, the photos and videos that you like and the people you follow and suggests new content to you based on that. In my experience, it’s been pretty good at figuring me out. I’m constantly finding new people to follow. And if you pay close enough attention, it can help you figure out what hashtags to use to reach your target audiences.
So if you’re looking for a social network that’s more visual and less cluttered, then Instagram is definitely worth a try. User experience will vary, depending on what you post and who you follow. But whether you’re a brand or an individual, you can definitely find a way to make Instagram work for you.
5 Stones Media is on Instagram as @5stonesmedia. And if you fancy pictures of strangers, you can follow me, @tonylettuce.