Instagram-ification: the rise of the tech giant

Instagram is a known contender in the world of social media, but few know its not-so-rough beginnings.

No one can deny the phenomenon that is Instagram. From its launch as a free photo sharing mobile app in the App store, it has skyrocketed into a social media mogul that has a million of users ever two months. As the portmanteau of “instant camera” and “telegram,” it was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger for the purpose of communicating through visual means.

In 2010, a brief line bench-marked the company’s vision for the future: “to make mobile photographs fast, simple, and beautiful.” There was little to no sign that the app would be as embraced as it was today, by the world’s most powerful people to young toddlers with their tablets. To be sold in a deal worth almost $1 Billion was a feat even the creators did not expect.

The inspiration behind Instagram really was old Polaroid photos. And just like Polaroid, Instagram gave the people a venue for instant photos. Using Polaroid, we were given photos on-the-spot. With Instagram, it had the ability to share photos within seconds. It’s the casual simplicity that became Instagram’s biggest attraction. In its own way, Instragram has instigated a level of creativity that is normally not expected from the monotonous mind. When people choose a filter that can fit the photo best, it becomes a channel for them to express themselves.

It all started with the original blog post, as it stated the first three common criticisms of mobile phone photos that the creators wanted to address:

  1. “My mobile photos look lame.” Despite having the world at a click of a screen, there were no ways to hide horrible, amateur photos. Instagram initially had 11 quasi-vintage filters that helped eradicate that problem.
  2. “It’s a pain to share [the picture] to all the friends I care about.” Instagram designed a method so it would be easier to link up with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr, all in a second.
  3. “Photos take forever to upload and viewing them is slow.” The most common way to upload pictures was to connect then via USB port and take the time for the website to actually post it. Instagram gave the app a formatted square to ensure not only a quicker update time but an aesthetically pleasing one as well.

Then, Instagram was an instant hit.

Within a few hours, over 10,000 people had already downloaded the app. 25,000 after one day. After a month, over 200,000 people had signed up. In over a year, 10 million people had seen over 150 million photos. According to Antonio Leanza, the founder of the London School of Photography, Instagram became a catalyst for “democratizing photography by opening up a medium to those who traditionally could not afford it.”  Countless celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and even politicians like Michelle Obama, President Bashar al-Assad, and Donald Trump are all avid users of the tool.

In a world where people are bound to share even the most mundane of things, it can be a chore to communicate with words, even when people are having a hard time editing that 140-character limit, or the self-consciousness kids feel before posting a status online as they’re friends with every distant relative six times removed. Sometimes, all anyone needs is a good photo.