Instagram Review

Now that you know a bit about what Instagram is and how it works, and have learned how to stay safe using Instagram, you're probably wondering if it's the right website for you. Before you get started on Instagram, allow us to offer you a critical snapshot of the service.  Here's a list of some of the pros and cons of Instagram.

Pros

Freedom! – Like many other social networks, Instagram is free to sign up for and use.

Show off your artistic side – The app has easy-to-use controls that let you touch up your photos and videos to give them a unique look.  Choose from over 20 pre-set filters, or if you're posting a photo, make even more custom adjustments to it!

Share with whoever you want to – Instagram lets you share photos and videos that you create on, or import from, your mobile device.  You can post them on other social networks, share them with people who follow your activity on Instagram, or send them privately to only a few specific people.

A world of visuals – If you don't like posting your own material, then it's perfectly fine to see what the rest of the world is up to!  Instagram is used by all sorts of different people, including A-list celebrities, famous companies and organizations, and photographers both amateur and professional.

Cons

Portable or bust – Instagram is a service that is designed to be used with mobile devices, such as tablet computers or smart phones.  It has very limited functionality on desktop computers.

Freedom comes with a price – Since the company doesn't charge you any money to use their service, they will show you targeted advertisements that are based on how you use the application.  Be aware of this, and ignore them as best as you can.

Downloads denied – Although Instagram allows you to share your photos and videos in many different places, one thing it does not allow you to do is save photos and videos onto your desktop computer (in order to have a backup of them).  Fortunately, savvy users have found ways to bypass this restriction; we'll show one of these ways in our tutorial on how to download photos from Instagram.

The bottom line: 7.5/10

Despite being a simple photo-and-video-sharing service at heart, Instagram strikes a good balance between being flexible and being easy-to-use.  The main draw is that it's free to use however you want.  You can use it as a very basic photo and video editing program with simple controls.  You can use it as a home base for sharing your photos and videos over your other social network connections.  Or, you can use it as its own social network, discussing and keeping up with people, organizations, and brands that you know and love.

Instagram has a few critical flaws, though.  The fact that most of its functions only work on mobile devices and not on desktop computers really hurts its usability.  In addition, many people who used Instagram before Facebook purchased it are not very happy with the parent company's efforts to ratchet up privacy-invasive targeted advertising techniques on Instagram.  And the inability to download your photos and videos off of Instagram (at least without using a third-party service) is a curious, if not irritating, lack of functionality.

Overall, we feel that you'll probably get the most out of Instagram if you already use a mobile device (such as a tablet computer or smart phone, such as an iPad or iPhone) and/or other social networks (notably Facebook and Twitter) frequently.

 

And that’s how we feel about Instagram! If you like what you’ve read and think it may be the app for you, check out the rest of our Instagram course, including our next step-by-step tutorials (with pictures!) where we teach you how to download Instagram, and how to sign up for an account.


Is Instagram a Safe Photo-Sharing Site?

Now that we’ve told you about what Instagram is and how exactly it works, you may have a few more questions you’d like answered before you sign up for an account and start using the app. In this article, we’ll go over how safe it is, as well as let you in on our top 5 safety tips for using Instagram.

How safe is Instagram?

Instagram is safe to use, in general. It is about as safe as other popular social networking sites and apps, like Facebook and Twitter. What this means is that it is safe to use as long as you don't do something on it that's overly careless or in violation of their terms of use. Still, there are some general precautions that you should take in order to be safe on Instagram. Let’s go over some safety tips to help you stay safe!

Top 5 Instagram safety tips

1. Think before you post a photo or video to your profile.

The number one thing to remember about Instagram is that it's a social network. This means that you should only post photos and videos on it that you think would be appropriate in a general social setting, where they could be viewed by people you know as well as people you don't know.

Ask yourself: would I be okay with showing this to one of my friend's friends at a party, or to a random friendly person on the street with whom I somehow struck up a conversation? If the answer is "no," then you should probably keep it off Instagram. At the very least, you should consider using more private options to share it; our next tip has more information about that.

2. Learn to use Instagram's privacy options.

Some people like to rack up followers in order to show off how popular they are. However, if you're not looking to attract attention on Instagram, there are some options available to you. You can set your account to private mode; this makes it so that people have to submit requests and have them approved by you in order to become your followers, and so that only your followers can see what you post. You can also use "Instagram Direct" to share a post directly with certain people (even if they aren't your followers), and it won't show up on any of your profiles or in any searches. 

See our article on Instagram privacy for more information on private accounts and “Instagram Direct.”

3. Be respectful of other users.

In the course of using Instagram, you may come across a photo, caption, or comment that causes you anger or distress. While it may be tempting to write a comment expressing your displeasure, or to start or continue an argument, show some consideration for your fellow users by taking a step back and thinking about a few things.

First of all, ask yourself: what is the context? Check any hashtags (words, shortforms, or phrases that start with the "#" sign) in the caption or comments, and look up their meanings if they aren't obvious to you. Also check previous comments that have been made about a photo, or even the profile of the person who posted the photo. The photo may be part of a series or trend, or otherwise have some sort of meaning that isn't readily apparent, which may not actually warrant a negative response.

Second, ask yourself: is there a point to (potentially) starting or continuing an argument? Debate about topics you feel strongly about may be okay, but at some point, it may become apparent that nobody in the debate is actually considering each other's points. A sure sign of this is that the conversation devolves into participants hurling personal insults at each other. At that point, as hard as it may be, you should ask yourself: "Is getting my point across worth the risk of people continuing to be angry and hurtful towards me?"

In summary, your best policy may be simply to view or comment on photos that you like, and ignore photos or comments that may set you off.  As the saying goes, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all."

4. If another user is harassing or bothering you, block them.

Hopefully, it won't happen, but some people may repeatedly contact you in order to try to sell you something or otherwise just annoy you. Others may incessantly ask you for favours, such as "liking" their photos or following their profile. In extreme cases, they may ask for money, sexually-explicit images of you, or something else, and may threaten to expose information about you if you do not meet their demands. 

In any of these cases, the best thing to do is block the person who is doing it, which prevents them from finding or contacting you on Instagram. See our tutorial on how to delete Instagram followers to learn about how to block users.

Also, if someone is threatening you or asking you for something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you should probably also report the person to customer support, or even local law enforcement (if the case is severe enough). See our next tip for more information about that.

5. If you see something that you don’t think should be on Instagram, report it.

While it doesn't happen very often, there are certain instances where people use Instagram to do inappropriate things. These include impersonating other people, deliberately insulting and offending other people or groups, distributing pornography, or blackmailing people by threatening to release private information. 

If you spot anyone practicing these types of behaviour — or wind up a victim of one of these behaviours — let Instagram know about it. Also, if you feel directly threatened, you may want to contact your local law enforcement branch as well.

See our tutorial on how to contact Instagram customer service to learn how to get in touch with Instagram if you need to report someone who is breaking the rules.

 

That's the best advice that we can give you for how to stay safe on Instagram. Be sure to read the rest of our course to learn more about how to use Instagram. If you’re really interested in signing up for an account, check out our next tutorial where we review Instagram, so you can decide once and for all if it will be right for you.


What Instagram is and How to Share Photos

Have you ever created a photo album, or wanted to make one? What if you could easily make a virtual one online? What if it could contain photos AND videos? What if you could capture a photo or video, edit it, throw in some creative touches, and add it to your photo album right on the spot? And what if you could show your photo album to all of your friends and family over the Internet? 

If any of that sounds interesting to you, then you're in luck! There’s an app for your smart phone or tablet computer called Instagram, and it can do all of these things! What's more is that it's so simple to use that many celebrities have their own accounts. Popular users include musicians/singers like Beyoncé, athletes like Lionel Messi, and movie and television stars like Ellen DeGeneres.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is an easy-to-use mobile application that lets you capture and edit photos or videos on your tablet computer or smart phone. You can then share your creations on Instagram and various other social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

Why use Instagram?

You should use Instagram because it’s an awesome multi-purpose app. It was initially designed to support social networks, but it has since become a social network all its own. Users can follow what other users post, or leave a "like" or comment on a photo or video that they find interesting.

If you feel like being more private, users can require approval before other people are allowed to see their posts, or send posts privately to specific other users with the "Instagram Direct" feature.

How does Instagram work?

Instagram works as a photo and video editing tool, as well as a stand-alone social networking app. You can also use it to simultaneously share photos and videos across multiple social media platforms, and if you’re a business owner, as a tool to promote your business. Let’s go over 5 ways Instagram works.

1. Make connections with other users.

Many other people use Instagram, from celebrities and corporations to budding photographers and blog enthusiasts. Some users may be your friends or family! You can connect with them and follow what they do, and they can do the same for you.

Follow other users on Instagram

2. Show off your visual media creativity by sharing unique photos and videos.

You can put photos and videos already on your mobile device on Instagram, or you can use the app to take a new photo or record a new video. After that, you can use filters and other effects to give a unique look to your creations!

Add filters to photos on Instagram

3. Organize and categorize all of your posts to make them easier to find.

Instagram supports the use of "hashtags," which are short words/phrases/abbreviations preceded by the "#" sign that you can add to your posts to help categorize them. This not only makes them easier to find for you, but it also helps other people find them as well!

Add hashtags to your posts on Instagram

4. Share your posts across multiple social platforms.

Why just stop at sharing your photos and videos on one social network? Instagram allows you to connect to many other social networks, which means that you share photos and videos on Instagram and your other accounts all at the same time!

Share photos and videos on Instagram

5. Change your account from "social" and "personal" at your leisure.

Are you the shy type who would rather use Instagram as their own private online photo album? No problem!  You can set your account to private, which means that only people whom you approve as "followers" can see what you’ve posted. You can also use "Instagram Direct" to send a private post to a friend that only they can see, so it won't show up in any public place on Instagram.

Instagram private posts

If Instagram sounds like something you think you'd love, don't forget to download it from the App Store for your Apple device, or the Google Play store for your Android.

4 Ways to Use Instagram

1. Use Instagram to capture photos and videos, and as an editing program.

You can choose to upload photos or videos that are already stored on your mobile device or tablet, or you can capture photos and videos from within the Instagram app.

Capture photo or video for Instagram

The app also gives you the tools to edit your photos and videos. You can add cool filters to give a unique effect to your photo/video, or use the more advanced tools to further modify your photos before sharing them.

Edit photos and add filters before posting

2. Use Instagram to share photos and videos across all your social media platforms.

You can connect your other social media accounts to your Instagram profile so you can instantly share the same post across all of your social networks. Some of the social networks that Instagram can connect to include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.

Share your Instagram posts across other social media accounts

After you’ve linked your other social networks to your Instagram account, you can use it as a tool to share one post across all major social media platforms. When you’re about to share a photo or video to your Instagram page, you can instantly share it across your other social networking accounts simultaneously.

Share Instagram posts on all social networks

3. Use Instagram as a social network to stay connected with your friends, family, and other users.

You can use Instagram as a social network on its own. You can follow other users to see their posts on your timeline, and others can follow your posts as well. You can choose to follow your friends and family, your favourite celebrities, and your favourite brands.

Follow Instagram accounts

You can “like” other users’ posts, or leave them a comment to let them know what you think! Similarly to Twitter, you can use “hashtags” to categorize your posts according to their topics, or “mention” other users to connect them to your posts.

Add hashtags to identify your Instagram posts within threads

4. Use Instagram as a tool to promote your business.

Lots of companies are now using Instagram as a way to promote themselves. Brands, companies, organizations, and businesses can create their own Instagram pages to promote their products and services. It’s a great way for companies to gain exposure, show off what they’ve been up to, or show sneak peeks at what they have in store for their customers!

Instagram business profile

History of Instagram and why it’s so popular

Instagram launched in 2010, and within one week had over 100,000 users. Three months after launching, Instagram hit 1 million users. The popularity and user-base of it grew rapidly from the very beginning, and has not stopped since.

In the beginning, the idea behind Instagram was to provide users with a way to communicate through images. It has since blossomed into a multi-media social network. As it grew, the company was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for around $1 billion. Since being purchased by Facebook, many features have been added to Instagram, such as direct messaging and live streaming. Instagram, like Facebook, is now more of a one-stop social network with 600 million monthly active users.

Instagram is so popular because it gives users a way to capture, edit, and share photos and videos within the app itself, as well as across other social media platforms. Instagram gives people a way to stay connected with their loved ones, and to stay up to date with their favorite celebrities as well.

How safe is Instagram?

Instagram is just as safe to use as other popular social networks. As long as you don’t violate their terms of service, or do anything careless, you’ll be safe using Instagram. If you’re concerned about your privacy, you can set your profile to “private” so you can decide who can follow you and see your posts. If you’d like to learn more about how to stay safe using the app, check out our article on Instagram safety here.

Does Instagram cost anything?

Instagram is free to download and use. You can sign up for an account, capture, edit, and post photos and videos, and use all of the app’s basic features for free as well. Since Instagram doesn’t charge its users to access the app or its services, it makes most of its money through advertising. Want to learn more about how the company makes money? Have a look at our article here.

Instagram pros and cons

There are lots of reasons why Instagram is a great app to use, but there are also a few things that aren’t so great about it. Let’s go over a few of the pros and cons to help you decide whether or not its is right for you.

First, let’s start with the pros. Some of the great things about Instagram are that you can capture, edit, and share photos and videos, all within the app, and all for free! You can choose from a variety of filters and built-in editing tools to give your photos a unique look. You can decide to share your posts with everyone, or set your account to private if you’d rather keep them to yourself. Tons of people use Instagram, so you’ll be sure to find other users to follow as well!

Some of the not so great things about Instagram are that it’s designed for mobile devices, so you can’t post from your computer (without the help of a third-party app). Also, since all of its services and features are free, they sometimes show advertisements in your feed.

Instagram competitors

If Instagram isn’t quite right for you, don’t worry – there are other similar apps and websites you can use instead. If you’re more interested in photo editing features than social networking features, try out VSCO.co or Pixlr.com. If you’d feel more comfortable using a photo-sharing service that’s been around for a long time, try out Flickr.com. If you’re looking for a unique social media network that includes photo and video sharing as part of its platform, check out Path.com or Galaxia.co.

 

If you want to learn more about the app and how to use it, we’ll show you the ropes! Check out the rest of our Instagram course, where we'll walk you through getting the most out of Instagram –  from installing it on your device and setting up an account, to producing, organizing, and sharing your photo and video creations. Read on to become an Instagram pro today!