Picture This

Instagram boasts one more user.

by André Natta

I finally decided I’d download the Instagram app for Android back in early September. I started to realize I was missing out on a whole new world of interaction with some of my online friends, one that probably gives me a clearer picture of what truly interests and inspires them.

It also probably helped that I knew its surprise purchase by Facebook was final and they’d said they wouldn’t be integrating it into its behemoth network any time soon.

It was a watershed moment for the photo-sharing service launched in 2010. The service’s new owner recently claimed 100 million users, many of whom enjoyed using their Twitter accounts to find each other until this July, when they learned it was no longer an option. Numbers released at the end of September suggest that while Twitter may have more users, Instagram has them coming back more often, while keeping them more engaged with what they were seeing.

It hasn’t exactly replaced the long-time standard, Flickr by Yahoo! It’s actually one of the options available to upload your photos after you’ve applied the appropriate filters and descriptions to them. Flickr, Facebook and Tumblr continue to provide something not immediately available to non-users — access and the ability to easily view those photos that users choose to make public. But it’s getting easier to do so with Instagram, and word of a more feature-filled website as a result of its purchase by Facebook gives hope to its most active users.

Platforms like Flickr also make it a little easier to implement something like Creative Commons, a boilerplate way of getting recognition for what you’ve created online. That’s not exactly the case, though, as websites like i-am-cc.org give users that possibility of being discovered for that next blog post or news story. The fact that it hasn’t exactly replaced any one service yet is probably why something like the Magic City Flickr Group has seen increased interest again as Instagram’s popularity rises.

Users hoping to show off their filtered versions of the world around them have another more open option, as well. They can sign up for INK361, a site currently in beta that allows you to share a public link to all of those photos. The data nerds among us can go one step further, turning to a site like statigr.am. That helps you measure the popularity of those recent snapshots of yours.

So I’ve turned to posting images of meals I’ve spent time preparing, my cats and snapshots of what I stumble across over the course of the day. I’ve been a little slower to connect with folks, mainly since I’ve become more deliberate about who I interact with on a regular basis online. It may sound crazy to rely on someone’s images to give you a better idea of how they approach life, but it seems like a lot more people are doing it than not.

Maybe I’ll catch you online.

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