Instagram at UNH: How we are slowly documenting our history
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 03:02
Instagram is an online photo-sharing social network defined by Apple’s iTunes store as “free, fun, and simple.” Created and developed in San Francisco, the follower-based app boasts “90 million monthly active users” and “40 million daily photo uploads,” according to PCworld.com.
Instagram started in March of 2010 when Kevin Systrom and Michel Krieger received $500,000 in seed money to fund their web-content presenting service, Burbn, which they eventually geared toward mobile photography. In only one year they had accumulated an astounding 15 million user-base and were valued at around $25 million. Another year after that, on Sep 6, 2012, the California duo sold Instagram to Facebook for approximately $1 billion. It took just two years for Instagram to spread across the country, and with it came another fraction in the online social medium.
The mobile app incorporates built-in digital filters to enhance pictures, picture-sharing capability between several other social networks, and a hashtag (#) system to connect users. But what exactly is the point of Instagram? We already have Twitter and Facebook, both of which can be used to share photos. Do we really need a photo-specific application to post images from our everyday lives? More importantly, is Instagram good or bad? Some may see it as the death of professional photography, the last nail in the coffin of traditional photography. Others view the mobile app as a contributor to our collective existence, propelling a world where amateurs rein supreme and all art is appreciated.
“Instagram can help spread a message or show off an amazing photo,” Jason Boucher, UNH social media coordinator, said. “If your followers are creating too much noise and their posts are not interesting, then unfollow them.”
Whether you think the app is culturally beneficial or nothing more than noisy, over-personalized communication, there is no denying its prevalence among today’s youth, especially here at UNH.
“If you like what you see, then share it, tweet it and let others know about how much you enjoyed their photo by commenting,” Boucher said.
Everywhere, every day, you see students (and professors) immersed in their smartphones. Whether you’re on the bus, in the middle of class, or just walking across campus, it isn’t uncommon to catch a glimpse of the Instagram icon or picture feed on a peer’s mobile device. If you’re sick at home and there’s a hockey game at the Whitt, or you’re stuck in the library while everyone else is at the biggest house party of the year, Instagram can let you in on the action with nothing more than the flick of a finger. The university has two of its own Instagram accounts, one run exclusively by undergrads, @UNHStudents, another account by members of UNH’s social media staff,@UofNH. Combined they have over 2,000 followers.
“UNH uses Instagram to showcase our beautiful campus, promote events through photos, and share student photos with our #instaUNH tag,” Boucher said. “Instagram is here to stay.”
In an age of instant information, communication between people, companies and organizations no longer occurs as a one-way process. Rather, it is circular, recorded and complex, going from one source to many others and vice-versa. Instagram is only one of many contributors to a digital history, and no matter how you look at it, good or bad, organized or chaotic, that is the way our society interacts, thrives and develops.