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Introduction to Instagram

Instagram is a social network based around sharing photos with friends and the public. The service started as an iPhone app in 2010 and was a hit with its combination of restrictions on the photos you could post to specific proportions and the filters you could apply to them. In short everyone tried to out arty their friends.

Instagram has expanded to be available on Android and there are third party BB10, Symbian and Windows Phone clients available along with a web viewer.

Product Information

Price: Free (supported by sponsored posts)
Download from App Store, Play Store and access on the web

New To Instagram?

Here’s what you need to know. To get started download the app to your phone of choice and sign in. If you’re a Facebook member you can just use those details. You can choose to set your account to public which anyone can follow and look at your photos or on an approval basis where you get to accept or reject everyone who follows you. Private accounts can follow public ones so if you’re not sure start off private and you can open up later if you choose.

Take a photo (or select one you’ve already taken) and in the app you can edit, crop and add the filter’s Instagram is famous (or infamous) for, add hashtags and a title and post it.

Finding others to follow is straightforward and comes in three flavors. Friends and family will be suggested (particularly if you signed up using Facebook ) by the app; companies will be suggested and I’d suggest following some like National Geographic to start off with; finally you can follow celebrities and personalities by searching for them directly. Once you’ve followed people you can heart their pictures or comment on them directly.

A number of communities based around types of photos have developed covering everything from #selfies to #food or Memes.

Instagram started as a picture only system but now also accept videos (with filters of course) of up to 60 seconds. The vast majority of content is still pictures but videos are creeping slowly up in useage.

There is no requirement to actually take, post or comment on pictures and the proportion of people who do so is actually lower than you’d think. Spent a few minutes following the right people and brands and Instagram can be a great and interesting stream of photos.

About Instagram

Instagram was started in 2010 and expanded quickly becoming the first notable billion dollar tech acquisition when Facebook acquired them in 2012. They’ve continued running separately from the main body of Facebook and expanding at speed and now have more than 500 million users.


Instagram is a social network but it’s one with a deliberately arty and indie feel. The pictures and filters were originally designed to make them seem like they were taken with a Kodak Polaroid and this arty feel has persisted to this day. If you’re after somewhere to chat Instagram isn’t for you but if you love beautiful and surprising pictures (and videos) it’s well worth investigation. Recommended.

This article was first published on 24th July 2016

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