So What is This “Instagram” Thing Anyway…

Instagram, popping into the scenes in October of 2010, is a free social media platform based on sharing pictures. The idea is to take a snapshot with your mobile device of a moment in your life. You can then doctor it up by adding filters, adjusting the direction of the picture, playing with its brightness, contrast, warmth, saturation, color, highlights, and shadows, all to change the pictures appearance. By sharing pictures, rather than written stories, it allows your followers to see what you actually saw, not just imagine it in their heads. In essence, it is a visual library of a person’s life, that tracks them through their life’s journey and allows their memories to be kept and shared for many years to follow.


As shown in the above infographic, Instagram’s use since its inception has changed quite a lot. Not only can you snap photos, alter them up, and send them out to the public, but you can now do videos, stories, and directly send pictures to whomever you wish. Let’s look a little further into these new elements outside the static picture.


To post a video on Instagram, you have a few options on how to do it.

  • You can record the video directly off the app. To do this, open Instagram and click on the camera symbol in the bottom center of the screen. From there click the video button which is the third one all the way to the right. Then hold down the round circle to record the video. You 60 seconds to record continuously or stop and start as you please. Once finished, hit the next button located at the top right of the screen, then you can do all the same adjustments as a pictures, add a caption, and tag who you are with and where the video was recorded.
  • You may also upload a video directly from your mobile phone. Do use this option, click the camera on the center bottom on the screen. From this screen, click the gallery button located the bottom left on the page. This allows you to scroll through your phone’s internal gallery where you can find and share videos you took personally without using the app. Once you have found the desired video, click the next button at the top right of the screen, and once again doctor it up with filters, captions, and location tags as you please.

Instagram Direct:

Instagram direct allows you to send pictures and videos directly to a specific person or group of people. To use this, click on the box at the top right of the home screen. The follow page will show a list of all your past direct messages. To send a new one, tap the + at the top right of the page. It will then ask you if you want to send a message or a photo/video.

  • If you choose to send a comment, it will give you a search box to look up the user you wish to send the comment to. Once you know who you want to send it to, it will then allow you to type the message up and send it to the person.
  • If you choose photo/video, the screen will appear as if you were posting a picture to your feed. It gives you the option to upload a video or picture from your personal phone gallery, or you can record a video or photo on the app and then send it to whomever you wish to see it personally. No one else will see what you send, this is what makes it different from your public profile.
  • You can also send someone else’s picture or video directly to someone. To do this, click the comment button under the post you want to send. Insert the @ symbol followed by the person’s username, then it gives you an option to send directly or just tag them in the post.

Instagram Stories:

This feature was introduced in August of 2016 and is the newest addition to the Instagram capability family. Instagram stories are very similar to a Snapchat story. It is a short string of pictures, videos, or both, that you can share publicly and are only visible for 24 hours, then they are gone. To use this feature first click on the + icon at the top left of the home screen. From there it opens up your devices camera and allows you to either take a picture or short video.

  • For a picture simply click on the circle at the bottom center of the screen.You can then add text or draw directly on the picture itself. When you are ready to share, click the circle at the bottom center of the screen once again and send it out.
  • For a video follow the same directions and above, only hold down the circle at the bottom of the page, don’t just tap it.

The audience for this social media platform is mostly those of the younger generations but is really for anyone who wishes to share their life via visual representation. It was estimated in June of 2015 that some 90% of Instagram users where under the age of 35 (Smith, 2016), however this does not make it exclusive to the younger audiences. As our lives become more and more tech oriented, many older people are becoming curious about social media apps and end up using them themselves. Instagram prides themselves for being “a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures,” (Instagram 2016), which allows all who want to use it, use it to express themselves and share their fun lives.

Instagram at Work:

Instagram is not just for personal use. In this modern-day, many businesses have turned to the picture sharing app to help their business reach new audiences. Let’s look at an example from The Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL. The Straz is the fourth largest performing arts institution in the country, why would a company like that need to broaden their scope? Simple, no company should ever be content with their current reach. They should strive to bring in new business, patrons, vendors, etc. every day. One way to bring in new people of younger generations is by utilizing social media well.

Just today (October 2, 2016), the Straz Center has sent out 5 Instagram posts about their Open House to draw people in to see the free event. 3 of the 5 posts were videos showing bits of live performances from the day. The other remaining posts were pictures showing local artists set up in front of the theatre painting on big canvases. Between all the posts, The Straz has shown its diversity of entertainment that one could expect from them throughout their season. By not only seeing, but hearing the fantastic talent they bring in every day, The Straz has successfully opened a new avenue of drawing up interest. Of their videos posted, the highest number of views was 301. This means 301 individual profiles have viewed the video, but those viewers may not have been alone.If each viewer had only one other person with them, that’s a reach of 602 people. That number could be even higher if the viewer had multiple people with them at the time of seeing the video. Whether those extra people follow the Straz on Instagram themselves or not, there is potential that new patrons could have been reached and made interested in their theatre. With the Straz’s current 3818 followers on the social media app, their reach to new audiences can grow daily and help them maintain their status as fourth largest performing arts center in the country, or even jump up the ranks even more.


For more information the The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, their season, or any affiliated partners, please go visit their website at


Jon-Paul Schaut


Works Cited

GEOFF. (2016, September 29). The Complete History of Instagram. Retrieved from wersm:!prettyPhoto

Instagram. (2016, October 2). FAQ. Retrieved from

Smith, C. (2016, September 30). By the Numbers: 180+ Interesting Instagram Statistics. Retrieved from Expanded Ramblings:



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