How Instagram Restored My Faith in Social Networking


If you have not played with runaway hit mobile social network Instagram, you should. Yes, it’s become known as a utility for iPhone users to send pictures to Facebook and Twitter, but make no bones about it, Instagram is its own social network, and a very enjoyable one, too. In fact, it has restored my faith in the media form.

With more than 13 million people on Instagram, you can see some fantastic sharing. It is innately personal and wonderful.

Gone from the mix is the usual social media punditry and sword fighting. Instead you simply have real experiences throughout the average day. It’s just photos, sharing and comments, and nothing more.

Instagram exists on the mobile web, and is not tethered to the web. Rather it is on your iPhone or iPad via application (soon coming to Android). It only lives on the most personal and portable electronic devices. I think that in combination with its simplicity is what makes the network so special.

You see, on the go people can only be people. It’s not contrived, and thus sharing is unusually naked and revealing. People show each other how they see the world. Yes, you can share professional or well edited photos via your phone, but generally Instagram is a social phenomena of the moment. It feels safe, and unbelievably relational.

Sure, companies are trying to figure out how to tap into the incredible Instagram phenomena. And Instagram itself is another social network in search of a revenue model (advertising looks like the probable path). With an open API, people are exploring how to harness the photos, including search by city.

But for now, Instagram is very pure in its simple peer-to-peer interaction. And in that sense, it is a welcome relief in comparison to the over-commercialized Facebook, Twitter, and blogosphere.


  • Love this app! Love the smaller groups of people I met virtually. #macro_power_hour every day at 7pm. #bird_watchers_daily and #macro_creature_feature every day at 5pm. Follow me – elisamo. :0)

  • I’m a huge fan as well, and now I’m intrigued about creating photo books with Instagram images. Looks like you can use Blurb to create e-books, but some company needs to get on the Instagram bandwagon and make it easy for us to turn all those great shots into books :)

  • Nice stuff Geoff… 

  • I have really enjoyed instagram. Oddly, the last time I allowed the app to check for friends just a couple months ago, there will still very few. Reading this post inspired me to check again, and now there are dozens of new folks to connect with. I’m excited to experience the app in a whole new way with all the new posts I’ll be seeing!!

  • Instagram reminds me a lot of 12seconds, which was a great little social network with 12 second videos. Totally quirky but still fun and social.

  • Opening up Instagram is my daily moment of zen (apart from the one offered by John Stewart). I follow people who post photos of pretty things so every time I open the App to browse, I get to be delighted.

  • I haven’t used it yet because uploading photos to social sites is native and easy in android. But you make the community sound pure and easy. I’ll keep a look out for the android app!

  • Great post, Geoff. I’ve been an Instagrammer for about six months now and love it for all the reasons you mention. Since my world is focused on philanthropy, I did a post on Instagram a week ago focused on fundraising. Have a look and let me know your thoughts… 

    • Good point on the tagging. Just RT’ed your post.  Thanks for sharing it.

      • Thank you, sir! It will be fun to see how non and for profit orgs use Instagram. The app is so simple, it forces users to “be real.” It’ll take creative managers, but could be a great opportunity.

  • I’ve been using Instagram, and I didn’t even realize the social aspect.  It’s a great app for making a picture look nice (It’ what I used for my profile pic).  Now, I’m looking forward to checking out the social dynamic.  Thanks!

  • I love me some Instagram, wrote about it a while back and think it’s actually one of the more important networks I’ve used. I know that might sound silly, but it really let me throw caution and get a lot more creative with my photos. 

  • Pingback:Instagram & Community - rick:caffeinated

    […] Instagram & Community Written December 16, 2011 by Rick in connections, social media I posted earlier on what makes Instagram a great platform. Today, more thoughts on why sharing photos and interacting over “my POV” is important to me. With more than 13 million people on Instagram, you can see some fantastic sharing. It is innately personal and wonderful. via How Instagram Restored My Faith in Social Networking | Geoff Livingstons Blog. […]

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