My life through pictures – Instagram Etiquette

Instagram Logo

What is Instagram?

Although widely used, Instagram is not as popular as Facebook and Twitter (Pew Internet Research, 2014). Therefore, I want to start off with a brief history and explanation of the app for those of you not familiar with the site / app. Here are a few quick facts (Facts from Instagram Press Page):

  • Instagram emerged October 6, 2010
  • By December 2010, Instagram had 1 million users.
  • August 2011, 150 millionth photo is uploaded.
  • April 9, 2012 Instagram joins Facebook. Facebook bought Instagram for 1 billion, in cash and stocks. ( Kevein Systrom, CEO Instagram, explains why in this blog post)
  • August 2012, Instagram launches Photo Maps.
  • Instagram launches Photos of You – May, 2013
  • June 20, 2013 – Instagram launches Videos (The app Vine  came out January 24 2013, just 5 months before instaram’s video launch… interesting) Side Notes: Data shows that Instagram video is has more activity than its competitor, Vine
  • Instagram Direct – December 12, 2013

And today, almost exactly 4 years after the Instagram launch, the app (and website) currently has 200 Million monthly activities, 20 billion shared photos, 1.6 Billion likes daily and 60 million average photo uploads per day.

By going over the brief history, you may have a guess as to what Instagram is. In short, Instagram is a photo app (now owned by Facebook), used to upload photos which can be edited using a variety of different filters and can then be liked by other users or commented on. The app also allows you to upload videos, tag your picture with a location, tag people in the photo, message other users privately and share your photo on other social networking sites.

Example of filters on Instagram (created by me)

instagram example

Who is using Instagram?

90% of users are under 35 years old which makes this an attractive platform for appear, entertainment, and media brands focused on this age bracket, according to a report by Business Insider. Additionally, possibly because Instagram is a “photo-heavy platform, it is used more by woman (68%). Data also found Instagram to be more popular with urban users (17%) than suburban and rural areas (11%)(Business Insider, 2014).

My Opinion on Instagram:

In my opinion, Instagram is sort of like the photo aspect of Facebook, while twitter draws from the status aspect of Facebook. Similar to Facebook, Instagram allows you to upload a photograph tag your location and others in the photo. Recently (2013), Instagram added the “photos of you” portion of the app which is just like the “photos of you” section on Facebook. However — when uploading a photo on instagram, it is the only thing that appears on other users “feed” — the photo is not compressed into one album but rather each photo appears as its own individual post unlike the Albums used on Facebook. This is a key difference in photo sharing on Instagram V. Facebook.

Instagram Help Center provides official Dos and Don’ts, which I have listed below:


  1. Do share photos and videos that you’ve taken.
  2. Do share photos and videos that are safe for people of all ages.
  3. Do treat others as you would like to be treated.
  4. Do have meaningful & genuine interactions.
  5. Do have fun!


  1. Don’t share photos or videos that aren’t yours.
  2. Don’t share photos or videos that show nudity or mature content.
  3. Don’t share photos or videos of illegal content.
  4. Don’t spam.
  5. Don’t be rude.
  6. Don’t promote or glorify self-harm.

The list I came up with for the Dos and Dont’s of Instagram, based on PCMagaz and Huffington Post:

  • Don’t steal other users’ pictures!
  • Keep private pictures, private!
  • Quality over Quantity – do not post 14 images in a row within 5 minutes
  • Don’t over like.
  • Selfies can be okay, but try not to have too man. Practice “selfie control” Take interesting photos!
  • Be social! Comment on post you find interesting and tag (@username) a friend you think would appreciate the post.
  • Use hashtags but DO NOT over use hashtags
    • Examples: #tbt #mcm #flashbackfriday #lategram #latepost
    • Hashtags used to categorize pictures
    • Avoid: #followme

Huffington Post summarize Instagram in this quote: “Document life, show off your quirky moments and tell a vibrant filter-filled story”

(This blog post is a follow up from my presentation tonight in my Social Internet course.)


4 thoughts on “My life through pictures – Instagram Etiquette

  1. I was at a marketing conference today and heard an interesting statistic. A presenter (from Facebook) said that 27% of all time spent on the internet (increasingly more on mobile) is split between social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is incredible, considering the vast possibilities of things to do with our smartphones. Knowing how to leverage these two channels in your favor is increasingly advantageous, making this a very useful post! Thanks for sharing, and great job presenting on Monday!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s