What is Instagram?

What is this trendy thing called Instagram that all the cool kids seem to be into? It’s been around for a few years, quietly picking up traction mostly thanks to everybody’s new obsession with mobile photography. Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone.

An Intro to Instagram

Similar to Facebook or Twitter, everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile and a news feed.

When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your profile. Other users who follow you will see your posts in their own feed. Likewise, you’ll see posts from other users whom you choose to follow.

Pretty straight forward, right? It’s like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. Just like other social networks, you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging and private messaging. You can even save the photos you see on Instagram.

History of Instagram

Instagram was started in San Francisco by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who initially tried creating a platform similar to Foursquare but then turned their attention exclusively to photo sharing. The word Instagram is an amalgam of “instant camera” and “telegram.”

The iOS app was released through the iTunes App Store on Oct. 6, 2010, and the Android app was released on April 3, 2012. The platform’s popularity skyrocketed, with the company reporting more than 40 million active users just two years after launch. This caught the attention of Facebook, which officially purchased Instagram for $1 billion in the summer of 2012.

Originally, only photos could be posted to Instagram, but the company expanded to 15-second videos in 2013. In 2016, Instagram upped the maximum video length to 60 seconds. Until 2015, all photos posted to Instagram were confined to a square aspect ratio. The company changed this to allow users to upload photos and video at full size.

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