The Ins-and-Outs of Instagram


In this day and age, there are so many ways to connect with friends, family, community and even just the world around us. All of which we can do through news channels, Facebook, Twitter and newsletters from various news outlets, and also through one of the newest trends, Instagram. Although the majority of Instagrammers are aged between 15-29 years old, it is used daily by around 77.6 million users around the world.


So, what exactly is Instagram?

Instagram, also referred to as IG or Insta, is a social media platform primarily used for photo and video sharing created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010. Part of it is owned by Facebook. It is mostly used on touchscreen phones, seeing as its first version was meant solely for iOS devices and a second version was launched in April 2012, allowing Android users to have it as well. An online web version was released in November 2012, although some features that were available on the phone application did lack in this version. Apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 were released in April 2016 and October 2016.

How to create an account

Although you can create your own account on both desktop and mobile versions, it is recommended to use the mobile version as there are more features available and a lot more that you will be able to do. Here below is a step by step instructions to creating your own account for mobile version and desktop version.

Mobile Version

  1. Head over to the App Store (for iPhone) or Google Play Store (for Androids) and download the Instagram app
  2. When it has finished downloading, tap the icon to open and start the application
  3. Tap the button saying Create new account (on iPhone) Sign up with email or phone number (Android)
  4. Enter either your phone number or email (a verification code will be sent to whichever contact line you choose) and tap the Next button
  5. You can also tap Log in with Facebook to sign up using your Facebook account
  6. If you used your phone number or email address, you will now be asked to create a username and set your account’s password, and then fill out the information that will be featured on your profile (such as profile picture and a short biography). After this, tap Done and you’re set!
  7. If you used Facebook to create your account, you will be asked to log into your Facebook account if you are currently logged out from the device you are using.

Desktop Version

  1. Open your preferred browser app and launch the Instagram website
  2. You will be asked to enter your email address or you can click Log in with Facebook
  3. If you choose email, create a username and set your password and click Sign up
  4. A confirmation email will be sent to you to make sure it is you who created the account
  5. If you choose Facebook, you will be asked to log into your account if you are not logged into it from the device you are using

On either version, if you used email to sign up, make sure it is an address that you have access to. If you are ever logged or locked out of your account and you’ve forgotten your password, your email will help you log back in.

Features

The app includes many features including posting, in app photo editing and video editing, private messaging between users, privacy vs public accounts, etc. It is all usually organized based on your preferred following, tags, location information and preferences. Additionally, depending on what type of account you have, certain other features are available to help you manage your page better.

  • Editing
    • When preparing to post your photos or videos, there is a part where you select what you are posting and another where you can edit.
    • For photos, you can apply basic edits such as exposure, contrast, highlights, shadow tint and you can also add various filters.
    • For photos, you can also add filters. Additionally, you are able to trim the video and cut certain parts, and then set a cover image for when it is featured on your account.
  • Posting
    • Your portrait photos can have a crop size up to 4:5, anything that goes over will be automatically cropped.
    • Landscape photos can go up to 9:16.
    • When posting videos, the crop ratios are the same as photos.
    • You can also post both as a square with the crop ratio (1:1).
    • Videos can be posted with the limit of 60 seconds in length.
  • Privacy & Security
    • When creating your account and managing the settings, you can apply a feature that will allow you to have a private account. This means that only people you choose can view your account.
    • Public accounts allow for anyone to see your account and what you post.
    • If you wish to keep your page public, but there is only a few people who you don’t want seeing your profile, you can block their accounts in your settings from seeing your account or by going to their account and blocking them.
  • Direct Messages (or Private Messages)
    • This feature is rather new and was released only in the past few years through a new update.
    • You can privately chat with any user (those who follow you, those who don’t, etc.) and send them posts.
    • If someone who doesn’t follow you and you don’t follow tries to send you a message, it will be stored in Chat requests, where you can choose if you wish to accept their message or decline it.
  • Business Accounts
    • This feature is also new and is used by public figures, companies and businesses.
    • In order to set your account your profile, you have to go to your settings and connect your Facebook page to your account.
    • After a week of setting up a business account, you will be able to monitor and check your insights. These include being able to see what kind of audience your followers are, promoting your posts to reach a wider audience, knowing the best times to post so you can receive the most engagement and many others.
  • Location Services
    • Many social media platforms allow you to search up locations and tag them in your posts, which then will get featured whenever that location is searched up and viewed.
    • When you post, Instagram allows you to tag the location so that you can show your followers where the picture was taken or where you are.
    • These posts tagged with a location are also featured on the locations page, which can allow for more exposure and attention if the other accounts see it.

Once you’ve set up your account and gotten used to the basic features, Instagram starts to monitor your activity in terms of the types of accounts you follow and the posts you like and share. Then, posts and accounts of a similar genre will be recommended to you and will show up on your explore page and timeline.


Although these are rather basic, Instagram is a rather simple social media platform and can be used by anyone. The features and its uses are common between all major platforms, and the more complicated so they can be figured out as time passes and more experience is gained.


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