While it still lags behind other giant social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, Instagram is quickly growing in popularity. As of January 2021, Facebook has 2.7 billion active users, Youtube has 2.3 billion active users, and Instagram has 1.2 billion active users; all members of the 1 billion club. Instagram was purchased for a whopping $1 billion and is now owned by Facebook — partly because it was viewed as a threat. So what even is Instagram and what makes it worth billions of dollars?
Instagram is an app that is used for sharing photos and videos (you can create an Instagram account by watching this video).
There are two different types of accounts: private and public. The main difference between the two types of accounts is that with a public account, anyone, including non-followers, can view your account. On the other hand, a private account is “hidden” to non-followers, and they are only able to view your photos and videos once you have accepted their follow request to grant them access. Once you have an account established, you are then able to request to follow family, friends, actors, athletes, major newspapers, and even your favorite sports teams. When someone that you are following posts a photo or video, you will then see it in the home section of your app.
Your “feed” will primarily be made up from the people you know and all of those accounts you follow (athletes, teams, restaurants, travel influencers, etc.). Your page vs someone else’s page can be vastly different. Each will be a mix of the accounts you follow and the people you know.
Now that you have at least a basic understanding of Instagram’s nuts and bolts, there is a larger question that emerges: why would I want to use Instagram and what makes it so popular? Part of the reason why Instagram has become so popular is the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Although Instagram is designed to allow people to caption their posts, the primary focus of an Instagram post is the photo. In an age where taking a photo to capture the moment has never been easier, Instagram has been able to establish itself as one of the primary locations where people, especially younger people, go to share their photos with friends and family.
Amongst younger people, which in this case would be people ages 18-25, Instagram is more popular than Facebook because Facebook is “boring.” Amongst teenagers and Millennials, Instagram has cemented itself as the app of choice — a survey performed in the U.K. found that Instagram was the app of choice for 36% of respondents while Facebook was the top choice for only 26% of people.
The next time you hear people talking about a cool photo or video they saw on Instagram, now you will be able to at least picture its colorful, yet sleek logo and have an idea of what goes on in the Wild West world of social media.
Picture Credit: Google Creative Commons Licenses