You snap a picture with your iPhone and you instantly upload it to Instagram, which essentially boxes it up and adds some hipster-y pizazz to it before being exported to your friends across different social media. Now, if you have an Android smart phone you can join in on the craze. Us Blackberry users, however, just have another reason to feel left out of this most recent fad, along with other popular apps like Words With Friends and Draw Something that are not adapted for Blackberry. Now that Facebook has just announced its purchase of Instagram for a whopping $1 billion, Instagram has become a debated topic of conversation among users.
What is all the fuss about? Why is it that our generation is so drawn to pictures that are styled after retro photography techniques like Polaroid and Kodak’s Instamatic that were so quick to be thrown out in the digital era? And with the company’s move under Facebook will its popularity last?
Photo sharing communities like Instagram can be said to have an impact on users’ creativity. Through taking, editing and sharing newly polished photographs, people enhance their creativity as quality photos become accessible to anyone with a cell phone. Also, browsing through people’s pictures from all over the globe can foster a renewed interest in photography or just another way of looking at the world. Some are drawn to the connectivity of Instagram, where you can follow friends or bands and stay up-to-date with their lives through their cell phones.
However, with an app essentially doing the work for you by making even pictures of mundane objects look cool, how much are we really using our creativity? Some claim that it diminishes the aspect of photography where you actually have to think about what you’re photographing and how to make it look good. Are people really thinking about what they’re seeing or merely taking pictures of their morning Starbucks on a table and adding a vintage filter to it for people to like? As one user noted, “People spend so much time trying to capture and edit pictures that they don't realize they're missing out on the actual moment.”
Regardless of your opinion on the app, only time will tell whether it remains a force to be reckoned with or whether it will end up folding to the next app mania.