Do you ever find yourself mindlessly opening Instagram the second you unlock your iPhone? I do it all the time. I admit it – I’m an Instagram addict. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing that little orange heart emerge on your iPhone screen to notify you that someone has liked your photo.
Since its debut in 2010, the platform has garnered huge success, generating 300 million subscribers. The “double-tapping” feature to like photos is now an integral part of our social scrolling ritual. By providing instant updates, Instagram has become an essential resource for people to access information in a way that is both aesthetically appealing and user-friendly.
Photo courtesy of Social Times.
With its Explore feature, content is curated to the user based on the people that he or she follows and the most popular pages. The targeted Discover page takes you to new realms by presenting fresh photos and accounts to follow daily. See where your fingertips take you.
This week, Instagram revitalized its explore page, taking after Twitter and Facebook by presenting news and trends first and foremost on the landing. Now at the top of the explore section, users will find trending hashtags and places.
Photo courtesy of Social Times.
Thanks to Instagram’s intuitive features and smart classification of information, you can see the world through other people’s eyes. The abundance of perspectives available on the app can enhance our lives in a number of ways. For example, if I were wondering what to order at a restaurant, I would search its Instagram page to see photos of the food. Chances are that the most Instagrammed dish is also the most delicious one. Or say that I wanted to plan my next vacation to Mexico; my first move would be to check the Instagram photos of my desired destinations to help me build an itinerary.
So what makes Instagram a winner in the world of mobile apps?
There is no better forum for engagement. With its flaw-hiding filters, users can’t help but double tap. According to a recent study by Yahoo labs, filtered photos are 21% more likely to get clicks and 45% more likely to get comments than unfiltered ones.
Photo courtesy of Social Times.
The app’s success skyrocketed this year with a 15% increase in engagement. For companies, the platform will remain a crucial channel for establishing brand identity and attracting a social audience – especially younger users. 68% percent of millennials say they engage with brands regularly by clicking liking, following and commenting. With that being said — Instagram on, my fellow Instagram addicts!
Reflecting back on my past year, I realize, sadly, that aside from the occasional frantic text from my mother, Twitter has been my main source of information regarding every sports victory and celebrity death, divorce and coming out. If Obama’s health care reform passing wasn’t on my tab of United States trends and mentioned by every single person I follow, I would have remained in the dark for an embarrassingly extended period of time. Twitter trending topics, while sometimes used as more of a game like #UnansweredHipHopQuestions, #MentionSomeoneBeautiful and #ImThatGirlfriend, are often indicators of the latest news, such as the birth of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick’s newborn and the death of beloved filmmaker Nora Ephron. Thanks to trending topics and Tailored Trends, Twitter can give you information and the latest news according to your interests while you again attempt to get retweeted by Lady Gaga.
Twitter trends cover a wide range of topics and are used in different ways. Whether you are interested in how people feel about the latest Wimbledon champion, or if you are bored and just looking for something to tweet, trends provide the necessary information to do just that. For your convenience, the trends feed is located in the lower left corner of your Twitter homepage right under suggestions of who to follow. The best part about trends is the user’s individual ability to choose which ones they are exposed to. There is the worldwide option as well as individual countries and states. You can change these freely depending on the area you would like insight into at that particular moment. If you are like me and like to get news from these constantly updated keywords, you’ll be interested to know the latest buzz under United States trends includes the unfortunate passing of Marty star Ernest Borgnine, Skip Bayless and his comments about Tony Romo, the return of “Bad Girls Club,” and Michael Fassbender’s upcoming role in an “Assassin’s Creed” movie.
Tailored Trends and what it means if you have them
Tailored Trends are adapted to each individual based on their interests, location and whom they follow. You can enable these, as you please, just like location-based trends.
These trends, while possibly more relatable to users, give the false impression that your interests are shared by a wide range of people, when in reality you could be one of a very small group that actually cares about whatever it is that could possibly be newsworthy about Sienna Miller. Mashable discusses this drawback in their “Tailored Trends Ruining Twitter” post, while Twitter maintains that the purpose of Tailored Trends is to better show “emerging trends that matter to you.” I can’t say that Twitter’s efforts have been exactly accurate though, since “el 99%” is listed as one of my Tailored Trends. I wonder how this trend could possibly be relevant to me, an American 19-year-old college student who has minimal financial responsibility at present. I agree with the author that Tailored Trends provide a small range of information and that turning them off allows for a more accurate and open-minded depiction of the latest news. At the same time, however, others enjoy having their trends filtered and prefer not to be bothered with the general ones that do not directly relate to them.
One final thing to keep in mind about trends is that as fun and informative as they can be, they are based on what is being discussed by the majority of users on Twitter, and a lot are only trending because of popular opinion, rather than fact. This caveat, however, is not going to stop me from finding out who Justin Johnson is and why he suddenly popped up on my list of trends. Happy trend-setting!
Popular recent Trends
- Ernest Borgnine
- Penelope Scotland Disick
- Tom Cruise
- R.I.P. Whitney Houston
- Heath Care
- Andy Griffith
- Windows 8
- Nora Ephron
- Bracket Time
- Steve Jobs
- Joe Paterno
- #notguilty (Casey Anthony)
- Happy Canada Day
- Up All Night Tour
- Ray Bradbury
- Happy Tomlinson Tuesday (Louis Tomlinson- One Direction)
- 25 Million Monsters
- Justin and Selena
- iOS 5.1
- Black Friday
- Invisible Children
- Kim Jong
- End Piracy
- Etta James
- Happy Australia Day
- Demi Moore
- The Devil Inside
- Blue Ivy
- Nikon D4
- Happy Birthday Bob Marley
- Jeremy Lin
- Photoshop CS6
- Ron Burgundy (in response to "Anchorman 2" announcement)