Lately I’ve been obsessed with the photo-sharing platform Instagram. Instagram exploits the fact that us humans are highly visual creatures and created a social network solely dedicated to sharing snapshots of users’ lives. The creators of this app were very intent on making sure it only be used to snap on-the-go photos by restricting uploads to those from smart phones. This ensured that users wouldn’t use the app merely as a photo aggregator where batch photos could be uploaded from their laptop just as they can with Facebook or other social networks. It wasn’t until recently that users’ profiles were even viewable online without a mobile device. Even so, capabilities on the non-mobile version are extremely limited. This, to me, is what sets this platform apart from other photo-sharing networks.
Another appealing aspect is their photo filters. This allows each user to edit their photos by choosing one of the several predetermined filters until it appears to their liking. Who doesn’t enjoy feeling a little bit more like a professional photographer? This ensures the most aesthetically pleasing photo for the user editing it and for users consuming it. Instagram has been my go-to app to view pretty things (photography, blogger outfits and collages).
I can see libraries using Instagram just like any other user does: to share snippets of its daily happenings. When I worked as a social media assistant in a digital agency, I learned that users want to see humanizing posts, not merely adds or calls to action. Seeing what goes on behinds the scenes at the library, during lesser-known programs or showing some personality from staff can really go a long way to make an information institution more appealing. It also has the potential to elucidate the fact that libraries are not just books anymore by providing visual evidence to the contrary.