Instagram: Worth 1,000 Words

Linda* ’13 snaps a photo on her black iPhone 4S of her new puppy, and immediately sends the photo to her friends, asking, “Is this cute enough to Instagram?”

Instagram, a popular photo-sharing application for iPhones and Android devices, has become an obsession among some students. To use the application one creates a username and follows peers and celebrities to see the photos that they share and edit.

Facebook recently bought Instagram, tying the two social media networks together so that now, users can immediately share the photos on their Facebook page as well as  their Instagram profile.

The application has also created a frenzy for “likes” on students’ edited photos. There are now easily accesible hacks that students, such as Josephine Kremer ’14, have discovered and use to garner more “likes” on their photos.

“What you do is you follow accounts that have a ‘like for like’ policy, meaning that if you like their pictures, they’ll like yours back,” Kremer said. “It’s a great way to get extra likes on your picture.”

Some students have found other ways to get more followers on the popular website, such as following “follow for follow” accounts that will follow you back and “like” all of your photos in exchange for you following them first. Another alternative is buying followers, which Jennifer* ’15 said she did with a group of her friends.

“Looking back, it was pretty stupid,” she said. “But it’s pretty cool to go to my profile and see that I have more than 1,000 followers, even if they aren’t people I know. People ask me how I have so many all the time, but I never tell them it’s because I spent money for it.”

Jennifer bought the followers through a website, which she declined to name. Though would not name the price she paid, she said it was upwards of $50.

Students also focus on their follower to following ratio, meaning that they make sure that the number of accounts following them are at least double the amount of accounts they themselves are following.

“Sometimes, I have to unfollow people so that I have a good ratio,” Linda said.

Jared* ’13, a photographer, does not participate in the photo-sharing application because he believes it undermines the talents of true photographers, he said.

“It’s just sad, because professional photographers work so hard to create the effects that people are so carelessly using by just using their own camera, not an artificial source,” he said. “Now, everyone thinks they’re a talented photographer just because they can select the effect that makes their picture look best.”

An article on The Guardian supports this view, saying that Instagram is “debasing” the art of photography and the work that so many people have trained their whole lives to perfect.

“Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram,” Linda said. “Sometimes, I feel like it’s taking over my social life.”

 *names have been changed

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