Instagram: More than Selfies and Pugs

This past weekend, while a good portion of the country was snowed in, all I could think about was the lack of human interaction that lay ahead of me. I was bored with Netflix by 9pm on Friday night, most of my friends and family were too far away for me to spend time with, and unfortunately, I own no pets. A true millennial, I immediately turned to social media for comfort, entertainment, and endless content.

Personally, I love photography. So it seems only natural that Instagram is my favorite social media platform. However, when Instagram first launched, I recall the stigma that was attached to the app’s users who would think themselves to be professional photographers, using no more than a smartphone and special filters. While many still use Instagram to post the occasional #selfie, document their meals, or show off their recent travels, I have noticed a shift in the last few years in the variety of Instagram users. There are a ton of professional photographers using Instagram to gain greater exposure for their work, and online you can find plenty of articles highlighting some of the greatest Instagram accounts out there. For example, Time recently published an article with a list of Instagram Photographers to Follow in All 50 States.

Since moving to Philadelphia, the kind of posts on my personal Instagram account have changed, along with the hashtags I use and people I follow. I now follow a lot of local Philly photographers, and this weekend, I was excited to swipe through the countless images of Philadelphia covered in snow. Inspired by the photos, I went out with my Digital SLR on Saturday to explore and take some pictures of my own.

With a few simple hashtags, I found myself picking up multiple new contacts and likes. Sure, it wasn’t the type of human interaction I was hoping for at the start of the weekend, but I was connecting with people throughout the city that I had never met before, and sharing interesting content. I can only imagine what the benefits of joining Instagram would be for a real, professional photographer, or any artist who is looking to make new connections and share their work more broadly. For any aspiring artists out there looking to get noticed, I wouldn’t discount the value in being #Instafamous just yet.

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4 Responses to Instagram: More than Selfies and Pugs

  1. Geoff Irwin says:

    Love this picture. I find myself enjoying Instagram purely for seeing other people who like the same things I do. It does build community and weak ties between people that they could reach out to later on for something just as you have stated professional photographers have done.

  2. sydhavely says:

    Great post, Alexis. And great photo. Nicely framed around the beginnings of Instagram and your new contacts. Gary Vaynerchuk, the host o TV Wine Library and a celebrated social media entrepreneur, would also send kudos to your post. Vaynerchuk’s book, Crush It!, is a best-seller.

  3. Pingback: The Power of Insta-Connections | U Penn Social Book

  4. Pingback: Insta-Connections Part III: City to City | U Penn Social Book

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