Instagram Impressions

Posted by Alex

Well I finally downloaded Instagram, after much ado. Prior to actually downloading the app, my understanding of Instagram was that it infested my Twitter stream with photos affected with filters I spent most of my first year at design school trying to apply to everything (posters, shirts, CDs, food etc). It was really annoying. “What is with all these forced vintage iPhone PHOTOS!” was the common refrain while clicking through my Twitter folk. (Kind of like the vintage film effect in Jersey Shore. WHY. Or so I’ve heard…)

I downloaded it over the break as part of some research I am doing for a new app I am working on (completely unrelated; I was basically downloading the entire app store and Instagram happened to come with it). Anyway after playing with it for the last few days I must say I am a convert, a fan. I get it now: it’s fun to see completely mundane photos suddenly become awesome with the tap of a finger. Cruddy picture of airline seats with poor light and an iPhone lens? No problem! Apollo filter and it looks like Hunter S Thompson just got up to go to the bathroom.

Of course I’m kidding around, but I actually am a fan of the app. Filters and mega-vintage filtering aside, the real power of the app is the social component. This doesn’t seem surprising now, but remember that there were tons and tons of other camera apps before it that played a similar card (vintage-izing) but left out this crucial bit of Twitter-esque following. The app now sits squarely between Facebook and Twitter on my iPhone and I find myself clicking it just as often to see if any of my friends have posted new pictures or ‘liked’ any of mine.

Definitely consider myself addicted, at least for the time being. However there are a number of frustrating bits that I hope they address sometime soon. First, there is no web component or ability to do anything at all anywhere but the phone. The website lets you…change your password, but I can’t direct you to my entire feed or anything. You have to download the app, search for me, then follow. An annoying process. Also, what’s the deal with the popular tab? It’s almost as mysterious as the frontpage of FFFFOUND. I would love some more powerful search, sort and filter capabilities. And I swear if they start charging $$ for additional filters…

My username is alexcornell if you can find me! Some of my first Instagrams are above.

20 Comments Leave A Comment


idmgirl says:

November 30, 2010 at 1:14 am

from what i understand, the guys at burbn actually spent the last year or so developing a completely different social app, and before releasing it decided that their end result would be entering an all-to-crowded app space. so, they scrapped the majority of it but kept the photo sharing part. this info alone almost lets me forgive the shortcomings in the UI. ;)


Navis says:

November 30, 2010 at 3:56 am

It’ll be interesting to see how media will evolve in the next 10-15 years. It’s pretty intense as it is and I can’t imagine how information could be delivered more efficiently than it already is…. but I also thought that 10 years ago.

Maybe Twitter will allow 160 characters then? Facebook brain chips? Truman Show stuff. Except it’s all on Google.


JB says:

November 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Alex & Jakub,

I was actually following you both on IG, I’ve been a pretty hardcore addict over the past few weeks. I’m @freelancefox on there, I absolutely adore it.

I do want to bring to your attention though that there is a sort of rampant attention whoring going on around IG that really turns me off. At first I loved how creative and supportive people were, sort-of like a stripped down Flickr, but all of a sudden I noticed that most of my followers were people who just mass-followed random people fishing for return-follows. From that point onward I stopped responding to most actions other than comments and have since almost completely stopped using… IG seems to be getting very caddy/trashy very quickly.

The other thing worth mentioning is that people, myself included, have a habit of posting DSLR photos instead of iPhone photos… I post iPhone photos whenever I catch a good one, but I filled in the gaps with my past photography as well. I mostly did it because the people around there are so supportive, but at the same time I now see posting old/DSLR photos as contradictory to the purpose of IG… What do you all think?


Alan LeBlanc says:

November 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I have Hipstamatic too, but other than ‘Camerabag’ I haven’t found an awesome (vintage-insta) app that allows you to remove the border/frame around the photos you take. Hipstamatic won’t let me do that :/ Going to check this one out though! :)


Bret says:

November 30, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I have to agree with the DSLR comment. While I know there are no “rules” for the app, I really enjoy seeing what people can do with their mobile phones, and it’s how I use the app, pulling only from photos I take and edit on my phone. The flurry of DSLR photos takes away from the app for me, there are already countless websites which I can go to and view the same content. Also, while I semi-frequently use the app (littledrumemerboy), I have yet to branch my network of those I follow as there’s no easy way to discover new people yet. I hope that’s coming soon..


Bret says:

November 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Oops, I meant “littledrummerboy”

And I forgot to ask, is anyone else limiting themselves like I am, keeping dslr/non-phone photos out of the mix?


Jarred says:

November 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Alex, I definitely went through the same loathing process you described. The hipstamatic app really pissed me off when they started adding the fake film frame counts on their borders. I shoot a lot of medium format and I always loved scanning the film borders with my negs…really seems to put them into another context. That is, until I started seeing apped images popping up all over facebook. The worst part was you knew when you saw the first one, the next five images would be the same image with a different filter!!!

Over time I gave in though. I use camerabag and Infinicam. I dig both of these apps because they give you control over frame edges, format, etc…

It really is pretty awesome to have such a powerful tool on hand all of time for those “I have to get a picture of this” moments.



awesome says:

December 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

This is a wonderful website buddy and an informative post!!! i am new here and i found this site very interesting and informative cwna you are a professional blogger i think i have a great interest in such things…thank you for the post buddy and keep on posting nice stuff like this in future as well.


Lauren says:

December 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

This is the third time this has been mentioned to me (or I’ve come across it on my fav blogs) since Saturday, so I guess I need to stop fighting it and just download it! ;)