Thoughts on Instagram

I have recently started using Instagram, actually after a webinar I watched at work where the librarians were talking about what a great social media space it was. They had a lot of success with being found, with getting constant interactions on posts, and with being able to ask questions and get answers. Well, that all sounded pretty good. So I gave it a look.

So far I have really enjoyed Instagram. It doesn’t get spammed to the extent that something like Tumblr does, so I can in a few minutes scroll through and see everything that’s posted for the day. It’s visual like Tumblr is, though, so it’s easier and better for scrolling through and checking out on the fly than I have found Twitter or the WordPress Reader to be.

How do they pull this off? Well, for starters, there’s no sharing. At least, not that I’ve figured out yet – I do see the occasional “re-gram” with a little share symbol and username in the corner of the image. Not sure how that’s done, but it’s pretty rare. Unlike a space like Tumblr, where sharing is the majority of the activity. You can like and comment, both of which being closest to something like Facebook in terms of use and visibility. However, some things in posts or comments don’t work – like websites. No hyperlink. So it discourages going in and linkdumping – unlike Twitter, where that’s almost the whole deal.

So it’s a visual space that’s there for others to experience and interact with. And really, I’ve had more success there with interaction than on other social media accounts. Things on the Facebook Page almost never get seen. Tweets rarely get any likes or shares. Tumblr doesn’t see much action. Indeed, in a couple of months I have as many Instagram followers as Tumblr followers, and the latter account is over a year older. In other words, it ended up really being what was advertised to me: a fun space with good interaction.

So let me run down a couple of things I have discovered regarding how Instagram plays with my whole suite of other social media accounts, to give you a more complete picture of how it works!

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X – Xerox

XAs we come to the last few days of the A to Z Challenge, I reflect back on the fact that I kind of had two threads of discussion.

One was about writing, books, and the craft. And I have that just about wrapped up with my posts last week, with Understanding and Voice and Writer’s Block. Though really, the conclusion to that line of thought will be tomorrow.

The other line of thought, however, has been about the business of writing. About Blogging and Journalism and the Internet. And I still have a bit more to say on that front, and it’s ending up in X and Z.

So while at first glance Xerox for X might look like some strange forced term or cop-out, allow me to explain. Like a few other brands have become, Xerox is a brand name that also became a noun and a verb for generally making copies. Think Google and Googling something. So to Xerox something is to photocopy it, right?

So, in our be-green, try-to-avoid-using-paper modern world, combined with our mobile-and-cloud-everything workflows, what’s happening to photocopies? Yes, in most of the offices I’ve worked in there’s still been a ton of paper generated. Yes, people still print out things that you send them digitally with the intent that they will read it digitally and not in paper. Yes, I’ve worked a job where we printed almost every email and kept it as a paper record.

Still, what is going to happen to Xeroxing things over time? As tablets move into the workplace, will we be copying things less and less? With increasingly simple online sharing and cloud access, will we need to bring or give paper copies less and less?

And as we stop using Xeroxed copies in the workplace, and use a digital copy instead, how will this change our mindset for personal reading? Will we be more inclined to read e-books and Kindles? My thought is, perhaps yes.

However, although email seems to have killed the written letter, and online news might be killing newspapers, are we really moving away from paper? Or are we just moving towards convenience? In which case, is sharing something online more or less convenient than Xeroxing something? Sometimes. Is an e-book more or less convenient than a physical book? Sometimes. However, until the answer is “most of the time” maybe things aren’t going to change, but simply plateau.

What do you think? If we move towards doing everything digitally at the office, will it change how we do things at home? Just ask someone checking their work email on their cell phone! Or let me know in the comments below!

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