I’ve just signed up for Instagram (or Insta for the cool kids).
I am clearly no expert – I don’t know my Gingham Filter from my Ludwig, and my hashtags are either made up or copied from someone else’s post! BUT, they say first impressions are the most important, so here are 10 things I’ve learnt about Insta since we became aquainted two days ago.
[note: the observant amongst you will realise I actually joined Instagram about 4 weeks ago, but this post was written after 2 days and I’ve just not had chance to publish until now!]
10 things I’ve learnt about Insta in the last 24 hours
1. The whole world is on Instagram
Okay this is possibly not true… but it feels like it!
It seems like my entire contacts list has an Instagram account. I must’ve missed the sign-up memo. Ah well – better late than never, eh?!
2. You find out a lot more about people on Insta
Instagram is great for nosy people (like me!). You get snaps of people’s lives in real-time and you see them in their home environment so you get much more of a flavour of who they are.
3. The pull to lose your anonymity is strong
I don’t show mine or my kids’ faces on my blog. It’s my personal preference so that I can talk about personal issues and thoughts without having the embarrassment of having to discuss it with a randomer at the school gate.
BUT when you’ve taken the most adorable photo of your little sproglet showing off the gap in her teeth or trying on your granny’s hat, the temptation to click ‘share’ is so strong, it’s almost painful!
4. Just because they follow your Twitter account doesn’t mean they’ll follow your Insta one
I guess I just assumed that my Twitter contacts would convert into Instagram contacts; that they would follow me back once I had searched them out.
Not so! Ouch!
5. Instagram filters are some sort of wizardry
I’m not much of a photographer. I am meticulous about detail, but I have ZERO creativity! However, a quick zap from an Instagram filter and my photos are transformed into something semi-passable! Amazing!
6. People think you’re stupid
I’ve already been followed by a handful of people with 10k+ followers but who only follow several hundred people. Do I have “stupid” written across my forehead? (actually I might have because, as an anonymous blogger, you have no idea what I look like – see point number 3 – so let me assure that I do not have “stupid” tattooed anywhere on my body.)
I might be an Insta-novice, but even I can see that the minute I reciprocate the follow, you will vanish, never to be heard from again. Thanks, but no thanks!
7. My photographs are not up to scratch
As magical as they are, Instagram filters can only go so far. My photographs lack the composition and effort and vision to really make them successful on a platform like this. It might be because all my contacts are bloggers (aka semi-professional photographers), but each photo that appears on my feed is like a work of art.
I am hoping that perseverance will hone my photograph-taking skills. But in the meantime, I’m sorry and… bare with!
8. Hashtags are big business
Coming from a Twitter background where 1 or 2 hashtags is the norm, the number of Instagram hashtags makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know why. I think I feel like I’m spamming people somehow. I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.
9. Interaction is high
Whereas a tweet is doing well if it gets 3 or 4 likes, many of my friends get over 100 likes on their Instagram photos! I reckon that’s because Instagram is so visual so you can take the post in instantly. It’s also really therapeutic (and addictive) just scrolling the photographs and tapping the heart on the ones you like. No typing necessary.
10. Beauty can be found anywhere
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, but joining Insta has pushed me to look for photo opportunities in my everyday life, rather than just the special occasions. I took my daughter around the park today and, when I took the time to look, there was beauty everywhere!
And 2 Things I’m still totally baffled by (any advice gratefully received)
a) How do you get blog traffic from here?
I can’t work out how to use Instagram to boost my blog traffic. You can’t post a hyperlink on Insta which surprised me, because that means you can’t direct people straight from a photo to your blog. It seems like writing “link in bio” is the thing to do, but so far… zilch!
b) What is the purpose of Insta Stories?
I haven’t dared to click the Insta Story button yet (partly because I’m scared that it will immediately start broadcasting to the world without me noticing!) I’ve watched other peoples’ stories and they’re really interesting. But I have nowhere near enough content to keep my Instagram account moving forward AND make extra content that will disappear in a few hours!
Also, I know I’ve been tagged in a couple of stories but I don’t know how to respond (sorry Wendy & Emily). Can you comment on them or do you just smile to yourself and move on??
c) How do you re-post someone’s photo?
On Twitter, I’m all about sharing other people’s work but it seems like this isn’t a thing on Instagram. However, I do know that a couple of my photos have been re-posted as part of a hashtag round up so it must be possible. I still need to work this out.