What is Instagram?
Instagram is a free, online, mobile, photo- and video-sharing, social networking app. It allows users to share pictures and videos with their followers and other social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.
Many high profile people, such as actors, artists, and athletes love to use Instagram because it allows them to directly communicate with their fans, just like Twitter, except with pictures and videos. And besides, a picture is worth a thousand words… way more than what Twitter allows. It does not mean Twitter is not that good! Both Instagram and Twitter have their strengths and are used quite differently.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram on October 6, 2010. Since then, it has grown in popularity at an exponential rate and is currently Instagram is the fastest growing social networking app in the world. As of March 2015, Instagram had approximately 300 million active monthly users. In April 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram and integrated Instagram’s features with Facebook’s features so that people who have accounts on both social media platforms can more easily share and connect with others.
If you have already connected your Instagram account with your Face book account, you probably have seen photos in your Facebook timeline with the words “Instagram” in small, light grey text to the right of the date and time like the image below:
Now that you have seen the growth and benefits of the Instagram, let’s go over the steps below on how to create an Instagram account.
How to Create an Instagram Account
Since Instagram is majorly a mobile app, you need to download the app on your smartphone in order to create an account. You cannot create an account on http://instagram.com/, and even if you login, you cannot upload pictures so a smartphone is necessary to participate in the Instagram community.
For this demonstration we will use iOS in the Instagram tutorial. Although the Android version may look a bit different than the iOS one, their functions are pretty much the same.
- Step 1: Download Instagram from the App Store : Simply search “Instagram” in the search bar of your app store and click download.
- Step 2: To sign in enter a valid email or use your Facebook account: Once the download is complete, open Instagram then go to the “Sign Up” tab.
Creating Instagram Account using your email id:
- Enter a valid email, then click “Next”
- Create a username
- Create a password, then click “Enter”
- Enter your full name (optional)
- Enter your mobile phone number (optional)
Connecting your Facebook account with your Instagram account is a great way to save time because Instagram will automatically go through all of your friends and present you with matching Instagram account, from which you can choose who to follow. However, if you are using your Instagram account for other purposes, such as to build a brand, it is best not to use your personal Facebook or account.
Entering your full name or your mobile phone number will also save you time. Instagram does not allow posting non-public phone numbers and non-public emails. So you can rest knowing that your information will be kept private.
Once you’ve entered your information, click “Next” and voila! You have your Instagram account. Keep scrolling below to learn five different ways to find your friends on Instagram.
5 Ways to Find Friends on Instagram
If you did not connect your Facebook account or phone number, use these five techniques to help you find friends and discover new ones on Instagram
- Search Bar – This is the most direct way to find your friends. You can use the search bar at top of the screen on Instagram app to find your friends! Enter your friend’s full name (first and last) or enter their full Instagram username, and a list of people you may be looking for will show up.
- Sync Your Facebook Contacts – If you want Instagram to find matching Instagram profiles for all of your Facebook friends, go to your Profile > Settings (Gear icon) > Find Facebook Friends, and follow the instructions to “allow” Facebook to access your Instagram information.
- Sync Your Phone Contact List – This method is the same as #2 except all you have to do is select Find Contacts from your phonebook instead of Find Facebook Friends.
- Explore Tab – The “Explore” tab on will present you with a group of “suggested” photos that Instagram thinks you may be interested in. Instagram determines which photos to show you based on photos liked by people whose posts you’ve liked or photos that are liked by a large number of people in the Instagram community.
- Search Naturally on Instagram – Read the titles and comments in interesting photos on Instagram! People often tag their friends in photos and in comments, so if you want to keep discovering new people and find more friends, you have to check out some photo titles and its comments on pictures uploaded on Instagram. If you see someone you recognize in another user’s photo, click on their username to go to their profile page!
How to Use Hashtags and Keywords in Instagram
The “hashtag”, formerly known as “pound” (#), is used mainly by Twitter and Instagram to identify messages and posts about a specific topic. People use hashtags to add character, background, and additional information to their photos, but it does so much more than that. All hashtags are grouped together on a particular page on Instagram so that users can search topics varying from “#sports” to “#puddlegram”, which are photos of puddles in various places around the world.
Not only are hashtags used in social media such as instagram, but they are also used in sports, politics, and media. Depending on the popularity of an event, occasion, or situation, there are popular trending hashtags that you can use to participate in discussions on twitter or share pictures of that event on instagram. Using these trending hashtags will increase the exposure your photo gets on Instagram and other social networks because it will show up when people search for that specific hashtag.
Tips on How to Take Better Instagram Pictures
Instagram is a photo-sharing app. So at the end of the day, it’s all about lighting, angles, focus, etc. You don’t have to use all the tips below to take better photos but utilizing just a couple of these tips can make a big difference in your photos that you can post on Instagram
- Use Filters. Instagram comes with many built-in filters, but if you are unhappy with their selection, download VSCO Cam. It is free to use, has better filters than Instagram already does, and has tons of free and paid filters you can use.
- Focus Your Picture. To prevent blurry photos, tap on your camera screen to adjust your camera’s focus and exposure. If you tap and hold, your camera will “lock” the focus and exposure even if you move your camera.
- Use Symmetry. We are hardwired to find symmetry attractive. Think about how most good-looking people in this world have symmetrical faces or how aesthetically pleasing snowflakes are. Use vertical lines of symmetry, such as doors or hallways, and use horizontal lines of symmetry, such as horizons.
- Rule of Thirds. Go to your Instagram camera. Do you see four thin, white lines that split the frame into nine squares? If not, click on the “Grid” icon which looks like this
According to Cambridge in Colour, “the Rule of Thirds states that an image is most pleasing when its subjects or regions are composed along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds – both vertically and horizontally.”
For large objects, such as a building, try to center the building on either of the vertical lines. For smaller objects, try to center it in one of the nine grids on the Instagram app other than the center one. See examples of the Rule of Thirds.
- Place Subjects in Opposite Corners. This method should be used when there are two subjects are fighting for the focus in the frame. Unless they go well together in the center, you should try to put them in opposite corners to create a nice balance.
- It’s all about lighting. There is no such thing as “good” light or “bad” light – just good lighting and bad lighting. Sometimes, no light is better than light, and sometimes, light is better than no light. It depends on what kind of story you are trying to tell with your picture that you post on your Instagram account. Also, make sure you try different angles and different types of light sources to get the most out of your picture.
You are well-prepared to start the Insta-life now that you know what is Instagram, how to create an Instagram profile, how to find friends on Instagram, how to use hashtags and keywords, and how to take better Instagram pictures. If you want to learn more about Twitter click here, if you want to learn more about Facebook click here.
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