AFPL App of the Week: Instagram

This week’s AOTW is one of the most popular social media applications out there today. Instagram is a photo and video application that allows its users to share their content on a variety of social media platforms.

Instagram’s original claim to fame was that it could turn photos that you took with your phone into a polaroid-esque photo using various filters and simple photo editing tools. Since Facebook has acquired it in 2012 (for around $1 Billion), it has solidified itself as one of the largest social media applications available.

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If you are new to Instagram, setting up an account is pretty straightforward. You can either use your Facebook account credentials or set up an account using your email. Once your account is set up, you can begin following accounts and uploading photos. If you want to follow your friends Instagram pages, you can find their accounts by looking through your contacts or Facebook friends. You can also find pages to follow by using the newly upgraded search page.

When posting your own photos to Facebook, you can either post photos/videos you have already taken or take a photo/video using the in-app Instagram camera. Instagram will automatically crop the photo to be a square, but a recent update allows you to adjust the aspect ratio to better suit your photo. Instagram has 24 different filters you can put on your photo as well as a number of different tools to enhance your photo/video. Instagram videos come standard with incredible image stabilization and you can record up to 15 seconds of video.

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Here at the library, we use Instagram mostly as a documentation application. If we have an event or something fun happening, we try to snap a photo of it so we can share it. Instagram syncs up nicely with Facebook and Twitter, so with one press of the “Share” button it automatically updates to all three platforms at the same time. We also can take photos using our regular cameras (like our GoPro) and upload them to Instagram. We do this by uploading the photos we want to post to our Dropbox (a cloud based storage platform which we can access from our library iPad) and saving them on our Instagram enabled device.

For someone who is just starting out on Instagram, our advice would be to use it as a tool for (a.) documenting all the fun things you do and (b.) sharing photos on Facebook. Don’t do fun things? Come hang out at the library and discover some fun things you can get involved in. Don’t have a Facebook? Instagram is still a great way to follow your favorite celebrities and personalities. Don’t like any celebrities? Just follow the Avalon Free Public Library on Instagram! Our username is @AvalonLibrary!

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