App of the Week: Instagram

Title: Instagram
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
(Requires iOS ‘ 3.1.2 or later)
Cost: Free!

To best describe Instagram to librarians: It’s like Twitter with pictures.

To best describe Instagram to teens: It’s an app where you can share photos with your friends and it has all these cool filters.

Instagram is a photo sharing app, self-described as’  “fast, beautiful and fun”. ‘ It has feeds like many social media sites. ‘ You take pictures, add filters, update your feed, and then look at what other people are posting. You can choose to follow other users and see their updates whenever they post a new picture. You can also easily share your Instagram photos with other sites. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr and Foursquare are the sharing options offered.

The interface is quite clean and self-explanatory. ‘ It looks like this:

The only thing I had trouble figuring out was how to post a picture from your photo’  library, instead of one you’ve just taken.’  All you need to do to achieve that, is to click on the little stack of photos icon at the bottom left when you are about to take a picture in the “Share” screen.

The filters are cool. ‘ There are eleven different choices, plus you can post your picture as is by using the “normal” option.’  I like the contrast in the “lomo-fi” filter.

When you use a filter on one of the photos from your iPhone photo album, Instagram saves a copy of the newly filtered version in your photo album.

Some customers complained in reviews on the iTunes App Store that the filters are different than in previous versions of Instagram, but there seem to be enough filters with enough of a range to make the filtering part of Instagram its most creative and enjoyable aspect.

Teens love sharing photos. ‘ I could definitely see an iPhone-loving friend group get really into sharing their images on Instagram. ‘ An Instagram feed could also be used to describe something more specific, as for a school project, a travel diary, or a day in the life.’  The ease with which photos can be shared with Facebook increases the chances that teens would use this app. ‘ I only wish that Instagram was available for other platforms, or on a website for everyone to use.

Check out more pictures on my Instagram feed: @erincerulean

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