When it launched in 2010, Instagram was mostly a place to post pictures with funky filters that looked a bit like they were taken with classic cameras. But Instagram, Facebook's cooler social network, has much more to offer now, and most of the people I know are using it to post pictures and videos more than they do to Facebook.
Some of the most fun features of Instagram are hidden, though.
You know that Instagram can be a fun way to pass the time while you're standing in line somewhere, but it can also be really useful for staying in touch with your kids in a new way or chatting with old friends.
You can also use Instagram to see what hotel rooms look like before you arrive, to share and chat about funny video clips with friends, to share live video of wherever you are, or to find out what your friends are liking. You can use it to follow things you're interested in, like dachshunds or sports or cars. Just skip the old filters. According to The Atlantic, they're not cool anymore.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Instagram, starting with some of the basics.
If you're new to Instagram, you may need to find some people to follow to start making it a bit more interesting. To do that, just follow these steps:
Instead of posting one picture at a time, you can post a gallery of photos that people can scroll through. Just do this:
Instead of posting several photos in a gallery, you can combine them into a single picture using a collage feature. To do this:
You can edit a picture to improve the brightness, contrast, warmth, saturation, highlights and more, all before you post it. This can help you post a more accurate rendition of what you snapped a picture of, in case the scene looks dark or overexposed. Do this:
Instagram has a "Your Story" feature that lets people follow along with your posts by tapping a small profile picture of you that appears at the top of their pages. It lets you post clips without sending them to the regular feed of photos, or share them with only specific people. You can create videos by default, or add pictures to your stories after you snap them. To use Stories, do this:
If you're somewhere fun, like a concert or maybe on a hike and want to share your view with everyone, you can go live in Instagram and share video with people in real time. To do this:
Boomerang lets you post looping video clips for funny or dramatic effect. You could show yourself jumping into a pool on repeat, clapping over and over, smiling then frowning, or anything else silly or unique you can think of. To use Boomerang, do this:
If you have an iPhone, Hyperlapse is a fun way to show a long period of time in a video really quickly. So, you could show traffic moving quickly across a bridge or maybe your airplane takeoff from taxiing to soaring in the clouds in just a few seconds. To do this, download Hyperlapse from the app store. Then:
Another fun thing to do with videos is "Rewind." This plays back whatever video you record in reverse. Again, it's pretty funny with things like jumping into a pool since, in reverse, it looks like you're jumping back out of it. To use it:
That should be enough to get you started with getting a lot out of Instagram, but lots of people use it differently. Some people only want to follow and share with close friends, while others want to get as many comments and likes as possible and aim to share with as many people as possible. Some folks only follow funny meme accounts or dogs, while others follow hundreds or thousands of people. Use Instagram how you like, and spend some time playing with the features I mentioned above, or others that are inside places like "Stories."
Instagram can be really useful, too. If you're traveling and want to know what the inside of a restaurant or a hotel looks like, you can search for specific places in Instagram and see the pictures people have tagged from there. Just do this:
Next to the "Your Story" icon on the top of the screen are a bunch of icons for your friends. These are their stories, which include photos, text, video clips and other content they've posted. Here's how to watch them all.
Instagram's algorithms don't always post the most recent content first, so sometimes you might not see something someone posted. You can get alerts when they do, though, so that you don't miss anything. To do this:
If you want to see what your kids, friends, family members or other people you're following are liking, you can do that. It's kinda creepy to do this, but it's possible. Just:
This is probably one of my favorite features of Instagram. My wife and I have a dachshund, and I follow a lot of dachshund accounts, so I always share the pictures I like with my wife. You can share pictures with a single person or a group of people and also hold a side chat. Here's how:
If you want to create a particular group of people to share stuff with all at once:
This group will now appear as an option when you want to share a post with someone.
If you see a post you like and want to share it with everyone you know, you can do that without sending it inside individual messages to each person. Just share it right to your story, and the followers who click it will see it. To do this: