Sunday, July 22, 2018

Five years using Instagram

A post shared by arthur_amerinz (@arthur_amerinz) on

Five years ago today, I posted my first photo to Instagram (above), something I blogged about at the time. As I said back then, I’d actually signed up “a very long time ago, but never got around to setting it up and actually using it”. So, this isn’t my fifth anniversary on Instagram, just the fifth anniversary of using it for the first time. And that’s why this won’t be making my list of anniversary observations.

As it turned out, I wasn’t exactly an enthusiastic user at first. In 2013, I posted 12 photos, but only two each in 2014 and 2015. I picked up the pace in 2016, having finally remembered to use it—and how to use it—and posted 44 photos. 2017 included our trip to Queensland, Australia, so the number soared to 90. So far this year, it’s 29—I guess I should pick up the pace.

In 2017, I also posted short videos for the first time, one at the carwash in January, and the second from Brisbane the end of that year. I haven’t done any of the long form vertical videos Instagram now allows, though I probably will eventually, even if only just to experiment with a vertical format video. Many of my photos have been experiments, too, after all.

All up, I’ve posted to Instagram 179 times since my first photo, and I still like it, especially for its social media integration. That’s a particularly ironic thing about this first photo, though. I said on my blog post about it, “the fact that [Instagram’s] now owned by Facebook makes it among the easiest ways to post photos to Facebook,” however, that’s not what I did that day: I shared the photo on Facebook the ordinary direct and separate way. The truth is, though, that this was only because at the time I either didn’t know how to share it on social media or I didn’t have my log-in details when I was ready to post the photo. Or, maybe both (I can’t remember).

I eventually figured out how to share my Instagram posts on Facebook and Twitter, and how to embed them here on the blog, too. That latter part in particular came about because I was trying to move toward a “publish once” model similar to the way digital publishing now tries to make the same published content available on many devices without any re-formatting. However, since the different places I share the content ARE different, I almost always say something about the photo when I share it on this blog.

What’s also changed over those five years is that back in 2013 I also said, “and I can post [an Instagram photo] to Twitter, the network I use the most, at the same time [I share it on Facebook].” I hardly ever use Twitter anymore, in part because I inevitably end up blocking accounts from trolls, bots, and obnoxious extremist rightwingers. To me, it’s just so toxic now that I hardly ever use it for anything.

One final thing that’s changed is that I usually shoot all the photos I take in the Instagram-standard square format. I started doing that only to make sure the subject in a photo I intended for Instagram would be entirely in frame. But then I decided I liked the challenge of not relying on extra space in either direction, and I also liked the visual focus the square format gave the subject. I still take photos in a rectangular format (horizontal or vertical), but few of those ever end up published precisely because I like the square format so much—well, for now, anyway.

So, that’s my first five years using Instagram. I’ll enjoy it while my enthusiasm lasts, because if my Twitter experience is anything to go by, it may not last another five years.


rogerogreen said...

Instagram makes sense, I suppose, but I haven't embraced it, because it becomes "one more thing". Maybe when I retire. Or not.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I think for a lot of people it probably requires more management than I give it. My posts are public, since I intend on sharing them here or (sometimes) on Twitter, but other people keep their posts restricted to folks they accept as followers (which makes it more like Twitter than Facebook). The downside of that is that I won't share anything that wouldn't post to this blog, so, nothing truly personal.

I also get "Likes" and follows from some pretty random accounts, including some clearly just promoting their businesses, which is kind of spammy.

Still, the whole reason I started using Instagram was because of the social media integration, and the site itself being more socal than what I used to use, Flickr, which is still around, but under new owners. Having a public account just goes with all that, and wanting a place to put photos I'd share in several places.