A social networking service that allows it’s users to share images and videos, Instagram was launched, first on iOS, in the month of October, 2010. Facebook Inc. owns the social networking service, whose creators are Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom.
Images and videos can be uploaded by users, after being edited with filters available on Instagram(if the user wants), and even tags and location information can be attached to the content being uploaded. Instagram has gone on to garner the biggest user base among all social networking platforms, with it’s number of active monthly users globally, well in excess of a hundred million.
Advantages of Instagram
- Size –
Social networking platforms are basically judged on the basis of the number of people who use the network. In recent years, Instagram has grown in leaps and bounds and has left all other social networks behind amassing the maximum number of users every month who actively use the social networking platform.
- Pictures –
Instagram stands out among all the different social networking platforms owing to the fact that it is based on sharing pictures. Often, a single picture can convey the intellectual content of many words. Images can also evoke emotions in humans. This offers a far better communication system between Instagram users.
- Online Shopping –
One of the most important requirements while buying something online is seeing an image of the product. This makes Instagram the perfect marketing tool. Numerous existing stores and even new ones are employing Instagram to sell their product(s). Instagram allows for better interaction between the buyers and the sellers.
- Security –
Instagram has several security protocols in place to keep it’s users safe. The minimum required age limit for Instagram is set at 13, to protect children from unsuitable content. Publications can be made private so only the user who has published the content has the authority to decide who can view that particular content.
- No cost –
Users can use Instagram without having to spend any money. Keeping in line with all other social networking platforms Instagram is also free. There is no cost if a user wants to subscribe to Instagram and neither does Instagram charge anything for downloading the application. Users only need to buy data to access the platform.
- Sharing –
All content on Instagram, whether it is created from the Instagram application directly or whether it is created by the user and later uploaded to Instagram, can be shared freely by the user. Not only that any user can also share any content file on other social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Artistic Skills –
Owing to the fact that Instagram is based on sharing pictures, Instagram holds the power to engage and also enhance the artistic skills of it’s users. As users try to take more aesthetically pleasing pictures, automatically their senses regarding all the different nuances of photography like angles, focus, planes, just to name a few.
- Customising –
One of Instagram’s most alluring features is that it offers it’s users a host of different filters, geotags, etc. These are basically tools users can use to edit their content, as much as they want, before they actually post it on Instagram.These effects and filters can make content more attractive and engaging.
- Interaction –
First and foremost, Instagram is a social networking platform and so it is a means of interaction and communications between people. Instantaneous direct messaging services are one it’s most obvious interactive features. Content sharing, live streaming if videos, filters etc. are several effective features Instagram offers which propagate effective interaction.
- User Interface –
No matter how many features a Social Network may have, if it is not visually attractive and/or easy to use, it will never garner a broad user base. An extremely appealing user interface, with brilliant and efficient organisation, allows Instagram to command the biggest user base among all social networks.
Disadvantages of Instagram
- Design Limits –
Instagram was developed as a portable system application, designed to be far better suited for mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. As a result the web version of Instagram, that is used to access Instagram on desktops, laptops, etc. is much more limited and has much less features on offer than the mobile version.
- Compatibility –
This is one of the biggest drawbacks of Instagram, as the social networking platform can only be used on a select few operating systems. Only some mobile operating systems like the iOS, Windows, Android, etc. have Instagram available. This means that all the users of BlackBerry, Linux, etc. cannot use Instagram.
- Image theft –
Despite all the different security measures provided by Instagram, it being a digital platform, there is always the possibility that any professional and/or quality content that has been uploaded to Instagram might be “stolen” by another person against the wishes of the user who has actually uploaded the content.
- False Advertising –
This is a common byproduct of any platform that is used by a large percentage of sellers to promote their product(s). As a result with a huge increase in the number of people promoting their goods on Instagram, a lot of false advertising can be found here. This generates mistrust among Instagram users.
- Image Privacy –
The privacy feature for the images uploaded to Instagram, has it’s own limitations. The privacy is more of a collective privacy instead of singular. That basically means that each single image cannot have it’s own privacy setting configuration, separate from the other images. So, all the published images can be made either public, or private.
- Addiction –
This is a very serious downside to Instagram, which is often ignored. It is mostly prevalent in the younger bracket of Instagram users, who even if they are not uploading any content themselves, might often be found constantly scrolling through all the content already on Instagram, for no particular reason.
- Few Image-edit tools –
This is a serious problem for a social networking platform that depends on it’s users to publish images. Instagram comes with only around twenty five filters inbuilt filters that can be used to edit images. Any additional options have to be separately downloaded, and even they don’t provide much help for proper image editing.
Instagram has become arguably the most influential social networking platform in existence, having more than eight hundred million users across the face of the earth. It gives the options of reaching out further to newer audiences instantly, increasing exposure, etc.
Like any other digital application and/or social network, it can definitely be made better, but with it’s user base still on the rise, Instagram definitely looks like it’s here to stay.