Posts tagged Instagram

Instagram May Be Working On A Snapchat Competitor, Called Bolt by @mattsouthern

A select number of Instagram users have received notifications prompting them to download a new ‘one tap photo messaging’ app called Bolt. According to user reports, when tapping on the ‘Free’ button to download the app the link becomes a dead end. These notifications have since been removed, possibly indicating that Instagram accidentally leaked something they didn’t intend to. Facebook has been known to test unreleased features inside its Android and iOS app only to officially release them later. This is how Facebook typically introduces new features, but the company has also inadvertently leaked information before it was officially made […]

The post Instagram May Be Working On A Snapchat Competitor, Called Bolt by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Instagram for Business: Data-based Answers re: Timing, Hashtags, and More via @Buffer by @kevanlee

How do you choose which social media networks to participate in? Certainly, there’re a ton to choose from. Are you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn? Are you on Pinterest and Tumblr? Instagram and Vine? How many social media networks can you handle? Instagram makes a strong case, if you’re interested in raw numbers and unique appeal. Instagram has 200 million active users and provides a huge asset for visual content, which we all know is driving social like none other. It’s one of the top 10 most popular smartphone apps with growth nearly doubling that of every competitor ahead of it on the list. More […]

The post Instagram for Business: Data-based Answers re: Timing, Hashtags, and More via @Buffer by @kevanlee appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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5 Instagram Tips For Shooting Fireworks Photos

It’s that time of year again. Tonight in the U.S., millions of people will flock to a neighborhood street corner, park or Independence Day Festival to stare at the sky. And after a few beautiful moments, many will attempt to snap photos of fireworks with their smartphones. 

Watching fireworks displays can be an exciting, awe-inspiring experience. Flipping through photos of them later on is usually anything but. This time last year, I remember trying to capture the spectacle of light exploding above me and my friends, only to scroll through an Instagram feed of terrible, blurry images the day after. 

Don’t let the same thing happen to you. Before you take off for the evening’s festivities, take a look at these tips for capturing and sharing your photos (and videos!) on Instagram.

Pro tip: No matter which advice you follow, always make sure your flash is turned off. Camera LED flashes yield terrible night-time shots anyway, but if you’re in a crowd, all you’ll see is the back of people’s heads—brightly lit and set against a dark sky with a speckle of light that may or may not be a firework. 

Get As Close As Possible

One of the big reasons fireworks photos tend to be a total failure is because spectators sit far away from the subject. But the closer you can (safely) get, the better the pictures will be. The lights will be closer and brighter, and with a more direct line of sight, you’ll have fewer pesky phones getting in the way. 

Don’t try to take photos during the first few fireworks. Wait a moment to see where in the sky the fireworks explode, then angle your phone at the spot where most of the action appears.

Brace your smartphone with both arms to stabilize the picture.

Put Your Body Into It

Last year, my fireworks photos were awful, partly because I, like everyone else, raised my hands high in the air before taking the pictures.

Instead, try the old trick teachers tell budding photographers and videographers: Use your body to stabilize the shots. 

Essentially, the idea is to use your arms and torso as a tripod. Just hold the device in your right hand and bring your right elbow in against your abdomen (nestling it in there), so that your right hand is in front of your face. Bring your left arm tight against your body, and grasp your right wrist. Southpaws out there can do the same, but with the opposite arms.

Use Focus Tools

Similar to the stock iPhone or Android camera app, Instagram has a tool that lets you change the focus, and lightness or darkness of a photo, with a simple tap. A circle will appear where you touched the screen, and automatically adjust based on the area you chose. Try tapping a few different spots to get the best exposure. 

See Also: Capture A Moment: The Best Photo And Video Apps

You could also use the built-in camera app on your phone, and import the photos from your camera roll or gallery into Instagram. Android users can even lock the exposure by holding down the capture button. 

Before you take any photos, turn on HDR (or high dynamic range) to balance the luminosity and retain the best parts of the picture. For iPhones, you can do this by tapping the top of your display. To take multiple photos at once, hold down the capture button; you’ll see how many photos you’ve taken appear at the bottom of your screen. On Android phones, you can turn on HDR and multi-shot options on under “settings.” 

Use The New Instagram Filters To Amp Up The Light Show

Thanks to the new filter and editing tools Instagram rolled out last month, you can take even more creative control of your photos.

Tap on the wrench icon to adjust the brightness, contrast, warmth, highlights, shadows and more on each photo. And if you don’t want the filter to overtake your image—which happens to me more than I’d like to admit—you can now double-tap on the filter and lower the strength of it.

Don’t Forget The IRL Experience

You might get the urge to scroll through your Instagram feed and see what all your friends are up to tonight in real life, but chances are good they’re posting fireworks photos, just like you are.

After you’ve got a nice shot or two, put the device back in your pocket and enjoy the show. It’s amazing how immersive and stunning fireworks displays are now, and trapping your view in that smartphone screen is no way to celebrate independence.

Because let’s be honest, no matter how good your photos are, they’ll never be as good as seeing the real thing. 

Images by Richard on Flickr.

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WTF: Here’s Why I Couldn’t Post My Lesbian In-Joke On Instagram

[Update: We've corrected this story following its initial publication and updated it throughout to reflect information Instagram provided us on Saturday morning. The company says that while it does filter comments for certain banned terms, "lez" is not one of them. Instead, Instagram says its logs show that Hatmaker (inadvertently) @-mentioned herself in the comment, a practice that it blocks on certain accounts to prevent "follow spam." —ReadWrite senior editor David Hamilton]

Friday morning, like every other morning, I opened Instagram as soon as I woke up. I was met with a notification from my sort-of-ex-girlfriend (it’s complicated). She’d tagged me on a post by New York fashion line Public School to say that a decidedly tomboyish outfit they’d posted would look good on me (it would).

Since I already own a very similar knit blazer, don’t know how to dress myself, and liked the look, I replied “lez do this.” Apparently that’s where it all went wrong.

I was instantly met with a pop-up warning I’d never seen in all my days on Instagram, still my Favorite App Ever.

Confused, I hit ignore. A few tries later, my comment went through and I was left wondering what else triggers this “comment blocked” pop-up in the name of “protecting their community.”

Here are all the reasons—with no more information than that my “content and actions” were deemed worthy of restriction—why I found the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app’s blocking of my incredibly innocent @reply unsettling (albeit hilarious):

  1. I’ve been an active Instagram user for years and have never run into this message before.
  2. The comment was a reply from a queer woman (me) to another queer woman.
  3. Have you seen some of the shit on Instagram?
  4. The Instagram post was promoting a pop-up shop at J. Crew, a company helmed by the iconic lesbian (and not-lesbian) style icon Jenna Lyons, who is in a relationship with a woman. Irony!

Our team tried to provoke the pop-up censorship warning again with a long series of profanity, gay-ish synonyms and references to the female anatomy, with no luck.

Sure Instagram, next time I’ll hit “tell you” and not “ignore”—but putting the burden on me to explain why my language was acceptable feels pretty absurd, you being under the wing of the biggest social network ever created and all.

After I asked for comment, Instagram told me that it does ban some words, but “lez” is not one of them. 

Instead, its logs show I mentioned my own account, @tayhatmaker, the first time I tried to post my reply. On larger accounts, those with tens of thousands of followers, Instagram doesn’t allow “self-mentions,” which are often attempts by users to beg popular users to follow them. I don’t recall doing that, but logs are logs, and it explains why I was able to post my comment on subsequent attempts, and why my colleagues were able to post similar comments in their tests.

I’m relieved to learn that Instagram wasn’t censoring me, but I wish its alert had made it clearer what was going on—for example, by explaining that it was not in fact the content of my comment that triggered the block, but instead my inadvertent self-mention.

Why Social Censorship Matters To The LGBTQ Community

Here’s some context on why I found Instagram’s pop-up message so alarming, not realizing there was an innocent explanation for it.

In Internet gay lady subculture (and likely tongue-in-cheek queer culture at large), it’s not uncommon to substitute the word “lez” for “let’s” whenever possible—it’s funnier, shorter and gayer, so why not? Approximately zero humans I know actually identify as a “lez” or any similarly silly-sounding variation thereof, but it’s a teensy sliver of the intra-community lexicon. (Facebook, to its credit, offers 56 gender options on its social network.)

Like much language exchanged between marginalized folks, using the word “lez”—just like choosing to identify as “queer”—is a powerful act, reappropriating terms that many of us encountered as weaponized slurs and hatespeech in the past. That’s the gist of why we need to be alert to incidents like this—and make sure there’s not censorship at play.

Right now, social apps like Instagram (Tumblr also springs to mind) are teeming with diverse subcommunities—and that’s unprecedented. Today, anyone can track a resonant identity-based hashtag and discover a thriving current of people like them just beneath the surface.

Growing up gay before the modern social media age, I can’t imagine how much less alone Instagram’s platform of anonymous yet out-in-the-open community would have made me feel—even if it’s mostly selfies. 

A Dangerous Precedent

Whether or not Instagram blocked the word “lez” in this case—again, to be clear, the company says it didn’t—it’s not a stranger to awkward, protecting-us-from-ourselves censorship. The company recently apologized after arbitrarily censoring a fat-positive vlogger’s photo of her body, which—as it turns out—wasn’t pornographic at all.

Random, misguided censorship is nothing new for the word “lesbian” either. When Google introduced Google Instant search results back in 2010, a query of the word “lesbian” turned up literally blank. “Bisexual” got the same treatment, whereas “gay”—a term historically more associated with gay men—was a thriving hub of cultural and political results.

Rather than improve the quality of its results (i.e. weed out the porn that tech giants are so afraid of), Google’s bizarre choice at the time not only hindered its users from finding often much-needed—sometimes literally life or death—queer resources, but also damaged the much-needed traffic of the already (and still) “ghettoized” places providing those resources. Hell, even a Google Instant search of “lesbian books” resulted in a void.

Censoring the often encoded language exchanged within social sub-communities repeats a dangerous precedent—not just for the LGBTQ community, but for other disenfranchised groups: namely people of color, women navigating vicious Web harassment—and yes, even body-positive selfie-takers.

By now, given Facebook’s unparalleled resources—and unimaginably huge sample of social data—I’d bet that Instagram, like Google, can come up with a better approach. 

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WTF: Instagram Censored My Lesbian In-Joke On A Gay Style Post

Friday morning, like every other morning, I opened Instagram as soon as I woke up. I was met with a notification from my sort-of-ex-girlfriend (it’s complicated). She’d tagged me on a post by New York fashion line Public School to say that a decidedly tomboyish outfit they’d posted would look good on me (it would).

Since I already own a very similar knit blazer, don’t know how to dress myself, and liked the look, I replied “lez do this.” Apparently that’s where it all went wrong.

I was instantly met with a pop-up warning I’d never seen in all my days on Instagram, still my Favorite App Ever.

Confused, I hit ignore. A few tries later, my comment went through and I was left wondering what else triggers this “comment blocked” pop-up in the name of “protecting their community.”

Instagram’s censorship of my incredibly innocent @reply is unsettling (albeit hilarious) for a lot of reasons. 

  1. I’ve been an active Instagram user for years and have never run into this message before.
  2. The comment was a reply from a queer woman (me) to another queer woman.
  3. Have you seen some of the shit on Instagram?
  4. Our team tried to provoke the pop-up censorship warning again with a long series of profanity, gay-ish synonyms and references to the female anatomy, with no luck.
  5. The Instagram post was promoting a pop-up shop at J.Crew, a company helmed by the iconic lesbian (and not-lesbian) style icon Jenna Lyons, who is in a relationship with a woman. Irony!

Sure Instagram, next time I’ll hit “tell you” and not “ignore”—but putting the burden on me to explain why my language was acceptable feels pretty absurd, you being under the wing of the biggest social network ever created and all.

(I’ve reached out to Instagram for comment—I’m particularly curious about what happens if you click “tell us”—and will update this story accordingly.)

Why Social Censorship Matters To The LGBTQ Community

In Internet gay lady subculture (and likely tongue-in-cheek queer culture at large), it’s not uncommon to substitute the word “lez” for “let’s” whenever possible—it’s funnier, shorter and gayer, so why not? Approximately zero humans I know actually identify as a “lez” or any similarly silly-sounding variation thereof, but it’s a teensy sliver of the intra-community lexicon.

Like much language exchanged between marginalized folks, using the word “lez”—just like choosing to identify as “queer”—is a powerful act, reappropriating terms that many of us encountered as weaponized slurs and hatespeech in the past. That’s the gist of why this matters in this particular if somewhat silly instance.

Right now, social apps like Instagram (Tumblr also springs to mind) are teeming with diverse subcommunities—and that’s unprecedented. Today, anyone can track a resonant identity-based hashtag and discover a thriving current of people like them just beneath the surface.

Growing up gay before the modern social media age, I can’t imagine how much less alone Instagram’s platform of anonymous yet out-in-the-open community would have made me feel—even if it’s mostly selfies. 

A Dangerous Precedent

For Instagram, this sort of awkward, protecting-us-from-ourselves censorship isn’t a first. The company recently apologized after arbitrarily censoring a fat-positive vlogger’s photo of her body, which—as it turns out—wasn’t pornographic at all.

Unfortunately, random, misguided censorship is nothing new for the word “lesbian” either. When Google introduced Google Instant search results back in 2010, a query of the word “lesbian” turned up literally blank. “Bisexual” got the same treatment, whereas “gay”—a term historically more associated with gay men—was a thriving hub of cultural and political results.

Rather than improve the quality of its results (i.e. weed out the porn that tech giants are so afraid of), Google’s bizarre choice at the time not only hindered its users from finding often much-needed—sometimes literally life or death—queer resources, but also damaged the much-needed traffic of the already (and still) “ghettoized” places providing those resources. Hell, even a Google Instant search of “lesbian books” resulted in a void.

Censoring the often encoded language exchanged within social sub-communities repeats a dangerous precedent—not just for the LGBTQ community, but for other disenfranchised groups: namely people of color, women navigating vicious web harassment—and yes, even body-positive selfie-takers.

By now, given Facebook’s unparalleled resources—and unimaginably huge sample of social data—I’d bet that Instagram, like Google, can come up with a better approach. 

View full post on ReadWrite

Why Your Business Should be on Instagram by @esornoso

Businesses already using Facebook and Twitter have a good start for implementing an online presence with social media. However, while these two online giants once ruled the landscape of social media, they are no longer always the best way for businesses to connect with current customers and attract new ones. Instead, Instagram is taking the front seat in helping businesses establish an online presence. Here is a look at Instagram and why you should consider it for your business. Newsfeed Posts If you are on Facebook, there is no guaranteeing your customers are seeing your updates or newsfeed comments. Due to Facebook’s algorithm, more […]

The post Why Your Business Should be on Instagram by @esornoso appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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How To Get More Followers on Instagram

In a recent interview from Ad:tech, San Francisco Murray Newlands talks to SEJ’s Editor-at-Large John Rampton about how […]

Author information

Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands

Murray is Deputy Editor at Search Engine Journal,

Murray founded The Mail in 2013, an angel-funded startup publication covering performance marketing and mobile marketing. Murray is an advisor to a number of bay area startups including VigLink. In 2011 Wiley published his book Online Marketing: A User’s Manual. Born in England, Murray moved to the USA in 2011 being recognized by the US government as “an alien of extraordinary ability”. Murray co-authored Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals with Bruce Clay. Murray runs the agency Influence People bases in San Francisco.

The post How To Get More Followers on Instagram appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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How to Edit Post Copy on Instagram

Have you made a spelling mistake or grammatical error on an Instagram post? Frustrating, right? Here’s an easy way to edit post copy on Instagram without losing engagement. The following how to explains the process on an iPhone.

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Amid Foursquare Worries, Instagram Tests Facebook’s Own Places Database

A small number of Instagram users have seen Foursquare, the location-sharing network, replaced with Facebook Places in the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service. Facebook confirms that it’s testing the swap.

While it’s a small-scale move, it has a number of implications for Foursquare and Facebook—and anyone trying to map out the future of location on the Web.

Locating The Future

It’s nearly impossible to own the flow of social media, but if anyone could, it’s Facebook.

When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg promised to let founder Kevin Systrom continue to run it independently. One example of that independence: The photo-sharing application exclusively used Foursquare’s application programming interface, or API, to tag photos with locations. Until now.

While Facebook failed to popularize a check-in feature that it launched in a direct challenge to Foursquare, it’s maintained its own directory of businesses and other points of interest, which people use to tag photos and status updates with a location. It also uses this directory to create pages for local businesses—a crucial part of its advertising offering.

The Facebook Places test doesn’t mean Facebook is ditching Foursquare entirely, but it could be the first step toward bringing more Facebook data in-house. Today, even if Instagram users don’t send their photos to Foursquare, they still share their location with the service, which improves the accuracy of Foursquare’s map data. 

“Foursquare is a great partner, and people will continue to be able to share their check-ins to Foursquare from Instagram,” an Instagram spokesperson told ReadWrite in an email. “We are constantly testing experiences throughout the app to provide the best possible user experience as part of future planning.

We’ll spell out the implication of “future planning”: Foursquare today is privately owned, but it’s quite possible that it could be acquired by a Facebook competitor at some point in the future. One way to look at this test is some sensible scenario planning by Facebook.

WhatsApp, a messaging service which Facebook is in the process of acquiring, also uses Foursquare’s database of places today—which means Facebook has even more reason to worry about Foursquare’s fate.

And even if Foursquare remains independent, it has signaled that it hopes to make money off of its API. Already, Gnip, a data-mining service, and Microsoft pay Foursquare for access, and it’s reasonable to think Foursquare will aim to charge other high-volume services that use its API.

In that light, Facebook’s move could be seen as a negotiating tactic to preserve its free access or secure favorable financial terms from Foursquare.

Controlling The Flow of Content 

Besides the financial risks of losing Foursquare to a rival or having to pay up, there’s Facebook’s mobile strategy to consider.

With Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Paper, and WhatsApp, Facebook is building a flotilla of social apps to keep users in its orbit. It already requires users to click on a link in order to see Instagram photos posted on Twitter. By sending people to a Facebook Places page rather than a Foursquare venue, it could hold more sway over users.

As ReadWrite pointed out last year, big players like Facebook are seeking to control the lifeblood of the social Web—status updates, images, video, and check-ins—in the same ways rulers of ancient empires sought to dam rivers. It may be a grandiose goal, but you can’t blame them for trying.

Facebook is the one social network that could really choke off vast portions of this social flow. It has all the tributary rivers of data already: people, places, and photos.

Over one billion people use Facebook each month to share status updates with friends and family. Instagram has over 150 million monthly active users, and 465 million people use WhatsApp, Facebook’s newest addition to the family, each month. The only thing Facebook is missing to completely own social engagement? A well-used and hence accurate location service. 

Facebook Places, and other services like Google Maps and Yelp, have directories of businesses, but Foursquare excels in so-called “points of interest”—unique venues where commerce may not be transacted but memories are formed. Those quirky locations picked by users are the same kind of places where Instagram photographers snap pictures.

By jettisoning Foursquare in favor of its own data services, Facebook can finally tap Instagram’s users to add their memory-making places to the social network. 

Great For Business, Not For People

If Facebook controls the flow of information and works to keep users inside its own services, the social network will own even more of our online lives. 

I’ve said that Facebook is the last great social network, in part because it’s so big no one startup can overtake it. But it’s also because Facebook continues to stake claim to the aspects and information the make up our social identity, and forces us to rely on Facebook as the one social login that powers the Internet’s applications. 

It’s smart for Facebook to want to own location services. But the prospect of losing this tie to the Web’s open flow should give us pause. We can check in any time we like. But our memories can never leave. 

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