Instagram: I just don’t get it


I don’t understand Instagram.

I’m always the person who is skeptical about new technology and I’m always on the late side of adopting it. But, in this case, I’ve thoroughly racked my brain and I just don’t get the hype.

Instagram is basically a photo-sharing social media service. Facebook does the same thing but so much more; besides sharing photos, you can post statuses, send instant messages, and so on. Twitter lets users share photos as well.  In fact, you can even share Instagram photos on Facebook or Twitter, which makes even less sense to me than using Instagram as a separate entity.

Instagram does let you follow celebrities, but that’s what Twitter and official Facebook Pages are for.  Instagram users claim that “you get more likes on Instagram,” which may very well be true, but it’s not something that would be impossible on another social media outlet if users started the trend.

One of my friends is adamant that Instagram is great because it lets you put filters on photos. However, there are so many photo editing apps and programs out there that make having an Instagram unnecessary.

For example, I upload photos from my phone to my computer via iPhoto, which allows me to edit my photos.  If I want, I can make them look like they would if they were taken using an Instagram filter.  I don’t need another app to do something when a program that I need to use either way can do the same thing.

My friends keep pleading with me to get an Instagram. I admit, sometimes I feel out of the loop when everyone is talking about something and I can’t figure out what they mean, until I realize everybody is referencing a picture from Instagram. But this isn’t a compelling argument to get an Instagram. It still doesn’t make sense why people can’t just post all of their pictures to Facebook. If they don’t want to “bombard” their friends’ Facebook News Feeds with pictures, then why should they feel any different bombarding Instagram?

Another argument that I’ve gotten is that Instagram is better than Facebook or Twitter because it is only pictures. Okay, you got me there, right?  Well … kind of. Facebook used to have a tab you could click on to view only photos, but this feature seems to have been lost in one of Facebook’s infamous updates. (There’s still a tab called “Photos,” which I thought was the same thing until I tried clicking on it today.  Obviously I’m not mourning the loss of the old feature.)  In any event, I don’t see why it would be necessary to have a separate News Feed for photos.

Or rather, I don’t see why this type of website has become dominant among technology users. My problem with Instagram isn’t its existence as app, but rather its popularity.  In today’s fast-paced, convenience-obsessed culture, I am surprised that people would be interested in spending extra time on something as needless as Instagram. It’s not like Instagram users stop using Facebook or Twitter, so why are so many people active on Instagram at all? I still haven’t solved this mystery.

I can’t conceive how Instagram in itself can be used to benefit reporters because it provides no new tools or unique applications. Despite this, it is important that reporters use this social medium because the American public is using it.  After all, that is to whom journalists must cater.

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