Why I Love Instagram

These shoes were left abandoned outside my office building a while back. They sat in the parking lot for days. I'm so glad I noticed and took this picture.

My “One Moment” this week

One of my friends asked a fascinating question recently on Facebook: “I’ve noticed that Instagram has become the default picture-taking/sharing app. Why do you who use it love it so?”

The question alone shows how amazingly popular this app has become. It’s only available for Apple devices at this point, yet already some see it as the “default” photo-sharing app. Instagram officials announced recently (at SXSW Interactive) that they have 27 million registered users — a number some predict will double when the app is released soon for Android. (Android users, you won’t have to wait long; you can now pre-register with Instagram for the Android app.)

So what is it about Instagram that resonates so much? I confess that I didn’t answer my friend when he put his question to the world through Facebook. I thought only fleetingly about my relationship with this sweet photo app, then went on doing … whatever it was I had been doing before.

If I had replied to his question, I might have listed any number of features that I think make Instagram addictive and fun. For example:

  • It makes me a better photographer than I am. With a photo I’ve already taken, I can zoom in and out to edit my photos to whatever composition I like best.
  • Instagram offers me a miniature suite of editing filters that I don’t usually have available to me. And they’re fast and easy to use.
  • It’s quick and easy to share visually. Sure, I could take a photo and load it up to Facebook, but Instagram is faster and easier — plus, it lets me push my photos to Twitter, Facebook and other sites.
  • It’s a great interface for exploring and finding people whose photography you like — like Twitter for photos, but with the commenting functionality of Facebook added on. Like dogs? Search the hashtag #dog or #dogs to find thousands of pics. “Like” the ones that catch your eye; follow the photographer, and see all of his or her photos come across your home screen.

I could go on. This little app has lots of cool features, and it’s lots of fun.

But there was a moment this week when I realized just what it is that makes Instagram special for me. It’s this: Because I enjoy using it, it makes me look differently at the world around me. I pay more attention to visual detail because I’m on the lookout for nice photos.

As a result, I appreciate much more of the world around me. Instagram opens my eyes.

This was my “One Moment” discovery this week — the moment that made me pause and appreciate life more. Did you have One Moment that gave you pause? Join the One Moment online meetup, and share it.

om [one moment] meet up

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