Monday, April 27, 2015

Instagram: Popular Picture Posts, Booming Business

By Jessica Mizzi

Instagram is a type of social media that has become very popular in the lives of many people in today’s society.  As a picture-sharing network, Instagram allows users to instantly upload a picture for their followers to see.  This allows for easy communication and interaction between users, and since 2010, the company has grown tremendously.

Instagram happens to be my favorite social media because I feel that the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true, and Instagram allows users to do exactly that: express themselves through the pictures that they post.

The layout of the screen is very simple to understand and the app is easy to use.  The five icons on the bottom of the screen allow for fast navigation from the home screen/news feed to the explore tab, notifications, and the user’s profile.  I personally use Instagram to share my music with others, as well as different aspects of my personal life.  With the addition of video uploading and direct messaging, Instagram is an even better way to stay connected.

Instagram was a nearly immediate success.  Just two months after it launched in October of 2010, Instagram had already obtained around one million registered users, and it has continued growing dramatically ever since.  By adding new features regularly, such as Direct Messaging and video uploading capabilities, Instagram has surely kept up with competition from other social media, and has become a special thing that many people enjoy.

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010.  The development of Instagram began in San Francisco, when Systrom and Krieger made the decision to focus their company, Burbn, on mobile photography.  The name “Instagram” was a combination of the words “instant camera” and “telegram,” because not only could pictures be uploaded in a matter of seconds, but descriptions of the picture as well, sending a message to the public.

In January of the next year, Instagram created “hashtags,” an innovative way to make it easier for users to find each other, and create trends.  By tagging specific and relevant information in a picture upload, other “like-minded users” are able to discover one another.  By August 2011, it was reported that there already were 150 million picture uploads to this thriving social media.

Several other new features were introduced in September 2011, when version 2.0 of the app was released in the App Store.  These features included new and live filters, instant tilt–shift, high resolution photographs, optional borders, one click rotation, and an updated icon.  Filters on uploaded pictures has become a trademark of Instagram, with many to choose from.  By September 26, 2011, Instagram had ten million users, and in December, it was rated the number one app for iPhone users.

On April 3, 2012, Instagram was released for Android phones, which greatly increased the use of the app because in only one day, Instagram for Android was downloaded more than one million times.  The value of Instagram as a company grew from $25 million to $500 million by opening up the market to non-iPhone users.  Instagram was also achieving extremely high numbers of ratings on Google Play, being the fifth ever app to reach one million ratings.  By July 26, 2012, Instagram had grown dramatically, reaching a total of eighty million users.

As of April 2013, it was rated nearly 4 million times.  In the same month of April, Instagram was bought by Facebook for 1 billion dollars, and the focus became to build and grow the business independently.

On December 12, 2013, Instagram added Direct, a feature that allows users to send photos to specific people directly from the app, with messages attached to them. Instagram's primary intention with the Direct feature is to compete against messaging services, including Snapchat.

Instagram is constantly updating, and today it has 150 million active users--a number that is always growing. Sixteen billion photos have been shared thus far, and on average, there are 1.2 billion likes being given per day, along with 55 million photos being uploaded.  Instagram has definitely come a long way since it’s beginning, and without a doubt, will continue to grow.

Jessica Mizzi is a 20 year old sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in Journalism.  “I am involved in many clubs on campus, including Alpha Phi Omega, STAC Singers, House Band, Spartan Volunteers, Literary Journal, and WSTK Radio Station.  My hobbies include music performance, whether it be singing or playing saxophone, writing creative nonfiction, reading, and drinking coffee.”  

Geoff. "The Complete History of Instagram." WeRSM We Are Social Media. N.p., 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
"Instagram." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

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