Instagram is an image and video sharing social network, where users can snap photos and apply filters to them to easily share on a variety of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Instagram photos are always square, and videos must be less than 15 seconds in length. Instagram is unique among most social networking sites as it was created and optimized for mobile devices. It’s only possible to post on Instagram through the phone app (available for iOS, Android, and Windows phones – no Blackberry support). There are over 150 million users on Instagram, and over 1 billion photos. Users can tag their posts with hashtags to allow for searching, similar to Twitter’s hashtag functions. Over 90% of Instagram’s users are under 35 (Business Insider).
Benefits of Instagram:
- Optimized for mobile, on the go viewing
- Photos can be easily cross-posted to other social networking sites
Disadvantages of Instagram:
- Photo and video posts only (perhaps not great for authors!)
- Only available for iOS, Android, and Windows phones – no Blackberry or browser support
How can authors and librarians take advantage of using an image-based system to promote text-based work? Very few YA authors are making use of Instagram. However, most major films have Instagram accounts attached to them to promote movies – the Divergent instagram account (http://instagram.com/Divergent) is especially notable as it’s updated almost daily, with highly interactive posts encouraging fans to vote and comment on different aspects of the upcoming film.
John Green began using Instagram during the filming of the adaption of The Fault in Our Stars, as a way to quickly and easily share set photos with fans. It’s a convenient way to send photos from your phone to all of your social networking profiles at once – John Green’s Twitter and Tumblr accounts also contain all of his Instagram photos. He also posts some photos of his every day life, including many “selfies.”