Instagram, whether or not you use it, it’s more than likely you have at least heard of it. But what exactly is Instagram? Is it another platform for blogging, social media sharing, video sharing, or picture sharing? Well, its a little bit of all those categories combined. However, Instagram is simply a video and picture sharing social media platform.
Instagram continues to grow daily due to all its uses and benefits. Instagram is a mobile app that allows its users to quickly upload photos or videos to their profile and/or their story. In addition, to the convenience factor, Instagram also allows for easy editing with the use of multiple filters and additional tools for editing to get that “Instagram worthy” picture.
Lastly, Instagram has the added benefits of hashtags (#), this allows users to target their audience, as well as, search for particular category or interest to follow. Moreover, Instagram has a growing number of businesses joining everyday, which has allowed for easier tracking of their customer base, easier engagement with customers, as well as, learn how to target and/ or retarget their audiences; this allows for the individual or company to generate more directed content.
Ubuntu Linux 11.04 is the operating system Instagram runs on. While I didn’t find any statements of the use, I am to assume Instagram is using commodity computers, since they are using an open source database that goes through commodity servers.
Instagram uses Amazon EC2 cloud computing service, also known as; Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. Instagram developers chose this computing service for its design to make computing simpler and easier for the developers themselves. Amazon EC2 provides a secure web service, this service also allows for resizable compute capacity.
In addition, Instagram uses both PostgreSQL and Cassandra free an open source database systems. PostgreSQL is also known as Postgres and Cassandra as Apache Cassandra. These two systems have mature replication frameworks that work well together. PostgreSQL is designed to allow to add customized capabilities and functionality using different programs languages such as C/C++ and Java. As for Cassandra, its designed to support large amounts of data through commodity servers with no failure.
In regards to app development Instagram uses Python (Django Framework) and HTML5. HTML5 stands for Hypertext Markup Language revision 5. Django is written in Python and was chosen for its simplicity as well by developers. Django has a set on how a system should run and all the developers have to do is write the app.
Instagram is a very easy to use and easy to use on the go software. In order to use Instagram on tablets or smart phones the Instagram app must be downloaded first; this is a free app. If accessing Instagram from a laptop or PC desktop there is an app that can be downloaded, however, with recent changes the app is no longer needed to view and use Instagram on laptops and PCs.
With Instagram being an easy to use and simple operating system there is not much required on the client side. Previously Instagram was only able to be accessed through their app. That has now since changed for all hardware devices, so even though Instagram can now be accessed from the internet, it is still much easier to use their app. However be aware, Instagram only works on devices running iOS or Android, but there is a Windows phone version coming soon.
It’s no surprise that social media took the world by storm and fast. When social media was gaining popularity there were not nearly as many choices as their are now. At one time the popular platform was Xanga, that was until MySpace made its great impact, eventually making Xanga a thing of the past. Of course as time went on Facebook was created and naturally everyone jumped on board. Today you can find one individual on several different platforms; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and SnapChat, just to name a few.
So how does Instagram continue to compete with these other similar platforms, and what exactly sets all these platforms apart? Well, each app has a specific niche. Because of off these “competitors” Instagram has to constantly find a way to compete with others. Facebook and Instagram did however realize the flooded market and competition and to ease the tension, Facebook purchased Instagram just two years after its launch, when it only had 30 million users, for one billion dollars. However, Instagram still remains independently managed, allowing Instagram to stay a strictly video and photo sharing site.
So what exactly sets Instagram up against the others? Instagram has become a largely popular platform for influencers. These influencers are taking the market by storm and making businesses out of it, while also allowing major big brands to cut marketing costs and using Instagram Influencers as their marketing team instead. Instagram has found a way to allow millions of individuals to make an actual income from just what they share. Instagram has allowed its users to create an engaging visual platform thats also welcoming, instead of just another boring simple worded blog. “Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.” (K.Smith) Instagram continues to deliver a simple and user friendly app, but with a lot of power behind it. Instagram is continuously finding ways to improve and compete the app, even if its simply adding face filters to pictures and videos similar to Snapchat. Or launching Instagram TV and competing with TikTok.
Instagram is a fantastic app as is, however, there is always room for improvement. Instagram is a easy on the eyes app and all flows quite well, however, it would be nice to have more formatting power with comments or posts. As of right now if you try to add paragraph and line spacing within the app, it will automatically publish your post with zero-spaced formatting. When writing posts it’s nice to have a line break, to help make points or even separate a thought. In addition, there are so many that use Instagram as a business platform, when a user has a giveaway or big announcement the wording in the post will be longer, having those line breaks and other formatting techniques would make the wording easier on the eyes and more appealing, as well as, allow for proper flow.
I feel this could be an easy fix in Instagram programing/software side. Moreover, this would not be a new feature that would drastically change the flow and design of Instagram, this would simply allow users to start typing out their posts as usual. With that being said, there are ways around the formatting issue in some cases; a user can create a more formatted wording for their profile in the notes app on iPhone and then copy/ paste to the user profile. A user could also download the GramSpacer app to add spaces and line breaks for their captions, bios, or even comments. However, the easiest, fastest, and most direct way to solve this problem without leaving the Instagram app is by using symbols. By using symbols such as dashes or periods, as well as, emojis wherever a line break is needed. The character will act as a line in the posting. Since Facebook is now an owner of Instagram I’m not sure why the formatting is still such an issue, this should simply be able to be done in the Instagram app and not need the extra steps, hopefully it’ll be in the works for improvement soon.
The second improvement for Instagram would be if the user would be able to manage multiple accounts while logged into one. Instagram has become a large platform for influencers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. Currently if someone has multiple accounts; personal and professional, they have to log out and back in to manage these accounts. Since your now able to link a facebook account to your Instagram profile, I don’t understand why multiple Instagram accounts cannot be linked together as well. Allowing a user to manage multiple accounts at once would make sharing posts and stories simpler since there may be a story or post that is fitting for both the personal and professional account. When a business or influencer is posting business information, giveaways, or sends out ads they should not have to worry about flooding their personal relations accounts. Within Facebook a user can use control their personal account and simply control and monitor multiple groups or pages at a time. Since Instagram has a current feature which allows a user to switch their account to a business account or back to a personal account so effortlessly, I think adding in a option to have a second account and those current options switched to buttons to go back and forth between the two accounts versus having to change the single account and losing valuable business information.
Lastly, one of the most popular and important features to Instagram are the hashtags (#). A hashtags main use is to make it easier for people to find, follow, and contribute to a conversation, as well as, drawing attention, to organize, and promote. The problem with hashtags currently is that one hashtag may have one million plus images connected to it. Since hashtags are crucial to gaining a following its important users are able to find said user. The problem is when someone searches a hashtag they may never see a quarter of what has been shared and half of what they see may not be exactly what a user is looking for. If there was a way to filter a hashtag by location, for example, this would help find more of the content a user may be looking for then the hashtag itself, which would allow for a greater search and possible better return for the original posters of their content. For example, if I were to search #hunting I would see hundreds of hashtags pertaining to hunting or that have the wording “hunting” such as “Huntington Beach.” Now I would have to enhance my hashtag search to #deerhunitng to find a better idea of what Im looking for. However, I then have a hashtag with 1.8 million posts, if I were to be able to search by location I could search for deer hunting in Oregon and see more posts of what is being shared near me versus a random post of a deer from Maine or North Carolina. With an option for a location filter this could allow users to connect better, as I would be more inclined to connect and follow a fellow hunter hear in Oregon versus a hunter on the other side of the country that wouldn’t be able to help me or give me any insight.
Instagram has made a name for itself and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. As stated earlier Instagram is a growing app at a rapid speed, with new users joining daily. Instagram also continues to make things easier on both developers, as well as, users. The continue use of simplicity and ease of use is what continues to attract new users as well as keeping current users returning. At the exponential rate that big name brands are using Instagram as their new marketing platform their will continue to be users joining to follow along.
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