Instagram: You’re doing it wrong.

Submitted by on the 24th of July 2012

I’ve spent the last several months taking advantage of every opportunity to jump on my soapbox and complain about the way people are using certain applications, namely Instagram. My thinking for this blog post is to turn my ranting and raving into something a tad more constructive, and explain what Instagram is and how it should and shouldn’t be used.

The Instagram story, summarised; once upon a time a loyal iOS app, Instagram was bought by Facebook (for a measly one billion dollars), shared with Android people and is now enjoyed by over 50 million users around the world. Instagram is a free photo-sharing program, which allows users to take a photo, apply a filter and then share it on a variety of social networking sites. The app also allows you to search for phrases or terms, which is a bonus for those self-confessed ‘one subject’ Instagrammers such as myself. Hence my disclaimer – I take a lot of photos of my dogs. I am one of those.

Despite this one crime, I still feel I’m doing it better than some, and to help make your Instagram journey a pleasant one, below is a list of dos and don’ts

Don’t

– Take selfies. No one really needs to see your face from all angles, your new hairdo or even worse, several self-portraits of yourself merged into one image. Warning – every time you take on of these, a puppy dies.

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– Sunsets and the moon are tricky subjects. They are almost impossible to capture on a camera phone. Sometimes these images are best left in nature.

– Photos of food. This is the equivalent of updating your Facebook status with ‘Kate is eating toast’. It’s boring, irrelevant and is bound to result in a few un-follows. That being said, should you ever visit a molecular gastronomy restaurant where your steak is cooked in a washing machine and served on a bed of newborn Unicorns, by all means, Instagram it.
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– Don’t upload more than one of the same image. That flower looks pretty much the same from all sides.

– Take a photo of a photo, a slogan, a witty saying or a cartoon character. These sorts of images belong on Pinterest and not on Instagram. Be original and creative.
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– Don’t ask for followers. It’s just plain embarrassing. Rather take such great shots that people are compelled to follow you.

Do

– ‘Steal with your eyes’. Look for beautiful, interesting, quirky visuals and capture them. Some of the best pictures I have ever seen have been different and surprising.
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– Do upload regularly. Don’t go weeks with no updates, then bombard your follower with several photos in a few minutes. Take photos and save them on your camera roll or gallery for later.

– Utilise the filters available, but credit them with a hashtag in the comments section. We all know you’re using them, so don’t try and take all the credit for your arty photo.
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– Use the correct filters. Black and white is always striking, but not suitable for a sunrise. Get my drift? Use the apps available to you, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

– Have fun, be creative, explore and follow only the people whose work you truly like. This is not Facebook, you don’t have to follow your Mom just ‘cos she asked.

Feel like you’re missing out on the Instagram experience? Then for your next contract upgrade, do away with the Blackberry and get yourself an iPhone or an Android device. Seriously, it’s time.

Kate can be found on instagram under Kate Nicole Kearney