Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. The app allows users to upload photos and videos to the service, which can be edited with various filters, and organized with tags and location information. An account's posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users' content by tags and locations, and view trending content. Users can "like" photos, and follow other users to add their content to a feed.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is an easy-to-use mobile application that lets you capture and edit photos or videos on your tablet computer or smart phone. You can then share your creations on Instagram and various other social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.
Why use Instagram?
You should use Instagram because it's an awesome multi-purpose app. It was initially designed to support social networks, but it has since become a social network all its own. Users can follow what other users post, or leave a "like" or comment on a photo or video that they find interesting.
If you feel like being more private, users can require approval before other people are allowed to see their posts, or send posts privately to specific other users with the "Instagram Direct" feature.
How does Instagram work?
Instagram works as a photo and video editing tool, as well as a stand-alone social networking app. You can also use it to simultaneously share photos and videos across multiple social media platforms, and if you're a business owner, as a tool to promote your business.
Let's go over 5 ways Instagram works...
1. Make connections with other users
Many other people use Instagram, from celebrities and corporations to budding photographers and blog enthusiasts. Some users may be your friends or family! You can connect with them and follow what they do, and they can do the same for you.
2. Show off your visual media creativity by sharing unique photos and videos
You can put photos and videos already on your mobile device on Instagram, or you can use the app to take a new photo or record a new video. After that, you can use filters and other effects to give a unique look to your creations!
3. Organize and categorize all of your posts to make them easier to find
Instagram supports the use of "hashtags," which are short words/phrases/abbreviations preceded by the "#" sign that you can add to your posts to help categorize them. This not only makes them easier to find for you, but it also helps other people find them as well!
4. Share your posts across multiple social platforms
Why just stop at sharing your photos and videos on one social network? Instagram allows you to connect to many other social networks, which means that you share photos and videos on Instagram and your other accounts all at the same time!
5. Change your account from "social" and "personal" at your leisure
Are you the shy type who would rather use Instagram as their own private online photo album? No problem! You can set your account to private, which means that only people whom you approve as "followers" can see what you've posted. You can also use "Instagram Direct" to send a private post to a friend that only they can see, so it won't show up in any public place on Instagram.
If Instagram sounds like something you think you'd love, don't forget to download it from the App Store for your Apple device, or the Google Play store for your Android.
4 Ways to Use Instagram
1. Use Instagram to capture photos and videos, and as an editing program
You can choose to upload photos or videos that are already stored on your mobile device or tablet, or you can capture photos and videos from within the Instagram app.
The app also gives you the tools to edit your photos and videos. You can add cool filters to give a unique effect to your photo/video, or use the more advanced tools to further modify your photos before sharing them.
2. Use Instagram to share photos and videos across all your social media platforms
You can connect your other social media accounts to your Instagram profile so you can instantly share the same post across all of your social networks. Some of the social networks that Instagram can connect to include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.
After you've linked your other social networks to your Instagram account, you can use it as a tool to share one post across all major social media platforms. When you're about to share a photo or video to your Instagram page, you can instantly share it across your other social networking accounts simultaneously.
3. Use Instagram as a social network to stay connected with your friends, family, and other users
You can use Instagram as a social network on its own. You can follow other users to see their posts on your timeline, and others can follow your posts as well. You can choose to follow your friends and family, your favourite celebrities, and your favourite brands.
You can "like" other users' posts, or leave them a comment to let them know what you think! Similarly to Twitter, you can use "hashtags" to categorize your posts according to their topics, or "mention" other users to connect them to your posts.
4. Use Instagram as a tool to promote your business
Lots of companies are now using Instagram as a way to promote themselves. Brands, companies, organizations, and businesses can create their own Instagram pages to promote their products and services. It's a great way for companies to gain exposure, show off what they've been up to, or show sneak peeks at what they have in store for their customers!
History of Instagram and Why it's so Popular
Instagram launched in 2010, and within one week had over 100,000 users. Three months after launching, Instagram hit 1 million users. The popularity and user-base of it grew rapidly from the very beginning, and has not stopped since.
In the beginning, the idea behind Instagram was to provide users with a way to communicate through images. It has since blossomed into a multi-media social network. As it grew, the company was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for around $1 billion. Since being purchased by Facebook, many features have been added to Instagram, such as direct messaging and live streaming. Instagram, like Facebook, is now more of a one-stop social network with 600 million monthly active users.
Instagram is so popular because it gives users a way to capture, edit, and share photos and videos within the app itself, as well as across other social media platforms. Instagram gives people a way to stay connected with their loved ones, and to stay up to date with their favourite celebrities as well.
How Safe is Instagram?
Instagram is just as safe to use as other popular social networks. As long as you don't violate their terms of service, or do anything careless, you'll be safe using Instagram. If you're concerned about your privacy, you can set your profile to "private" so you can decide who can follow you and see your posts.
Does Instagram Cost Anything?
Instagram is free to download and use. You can sign up for an account, capture, edit, and post photos and videos, and use all of the app's basic features for free as well. Since Instagram doesn't charge its users to access the app or its services, it makes most of its money through advertising.
Instagram Pros and Cons
There are lots of reasons why Instagram is a great app to use, but there are also a few things that aren't so great about it. Let's go over a few of the pros and cons to help you decide whether or not its is right for you.
First, let's start with the Pros Some of the great things about Instagram are that you can capture, edit, and share photos and videos, all within the app, and all for free! You can choose from a variety of filters and built-in editing tools to give your photos a unique look. You can decide to share your posts with everyone, or set your account to private if you'd rather keep them to yourself. Tons of people use Instagram, so you'll be sure to find other users to follow as well!
Some of the not so great things about Instagram are that it's designed for mobile devices, so you can't post from your computer (without the help of a third-party app). Also, since all of its services and features are free, they sometimes show advertisements in your feed.
Watch this great instructional video from Tech Boomers...
How to Search on Instagram
Open your Instagram application on your mobile device and log in
Tap the Explore icon at the bottom of the screen, and then tap Search at the top of the screen (see picture below)
You will now see four options at the top of the screen: Top, People, Tags, and Places. Top shows you all content that you have searched for so far; it will search for people by default
EXPLORE SEARCH FOUR OPTIONS
The sections below will teach you how to search for different types of content on Instagram...
Instagram User Search
Tap People at the top of the "Search" Screen, and then tap where it says "Search People" and start typing in the name or user name of the person whom you want to look for on Instagram.
As you type, Instagram will display a list of people (or brands or organizations) who most closely match the search terms that you're typing in. If a person has a checkmark beside their name, it denotes that that is verified to be the official account of that person on Instagram.
Simply tap a person's name to go to their profile.
Instagram hashtag search
Tap Tags at the top of the "Search" screen, and then tap where it says "Search Hashtags" and start typing in the hashtag that you want to look for on Instagram.
Note that you don't actually have to type in the "#" symbol first; Instagram understands that you're looking for hashtags, and will add it in automatically.
See our Instagram Hashtags article to learn what hashtags are and how they work on Instagram.
As you type, Instagram will display a list of hashtags that are similar to what you are typing, along with how many photos have a caption that includes that hashtag. When you find the hashtag that you're looking for, tap it.
The "Top Posts" section will show you a few of the photos on Instagram whose captions contain your chosen hashtag and have received the most "Likes". The "Most Recent" section will show you photos that have been posted recently on Instagram, and whose captions contain your chosen hashtag.
Instagram location search
Tap Places at the top of the "Search" screen, and then tap where it says "Search Places" and start typing in the name of the location that you're looking for.
As you type, Instagram will display suggestions of places where Instagram users have taken photographs. When you find the location that you're looking for, tap it.
Instagram will show you the location of that place on a map, as well as photos that have been taken at that location. "Top Posts" shows you photos posted on Instagram from that location and that have received the most "likes", while "Most Recent" shows you photos recently posted on Instagram from that location.
How to Delete your Instagram Search History
Assuming that you still have the Intagram application on your mobile device running, tap the Profile icon in the bottom-right corner, and then tap the three dots in the top-right corner.
Scroll to the bottom of the screen, and tap Clear Search History. Instagram will ask you to confirm that this is really what you want to do. Tap Yes, I'm Sure to clear your Instagram search history, or tap Cancel to back out.