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Instagram Part 1 – Get To Know Instagram

Instagram is a popular free app for iPhone and Android that is part photo-editing app and part social media app. This app has capitalized on the increasing use of the smartphone as a primary camera for many people.

My reasons for writing about the app are twofold. My husband just joined and he has a lot of questions about how it works. Also, the app has just been updated to offer some new editing features.

I thought I would start with a basic tour of Instagram. We’ve written about it before, but there have been several changes.  To use Instagram you’ll need an iOS or Android device with a camera. You can download Instagram for free from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. To start, create a username and password and you are ready to go. You can find friends who are already using Instagram from  your Facebook friends or from the contact list on your phone.

This is what your homepage or feed in Instagram will look like. To scroll, you swipe up or down on the screen. The feed will show your photos and photos from friends and organizations or public figures you have chosen to follow. This photo is from the U.S. Department of the Interior. They post some beautiful nature photos and pics of our national monuments.

 At the bottom of the screen you’ll find the menu buttons for Instagram. The one to the far left that looks like a house is your Home button, where you can view your feed. Next to it you’ll find the icon for Explore.


Choose explore and you’ll get a look at photos posted by other users. To check out their pictures, just tap one of the squares.

You’ll be taken to the user’s feed and you can scroll down to check out his or her pictures.

If you’d like to follow this person and view their photos just tap their name at the top.

You’ll be taken to their profile, where you can tap Follow. You can also see how many people are following that user and how many people he or she is following. Tap on those numbers and you can see the user names of who that person follows and who follows that user. This can be a good way to find people you might like to follow. You can choose to only follow people you know personally or to follow organizations or celebrities or political figures. I follow the U.S. Department of the Interior for their beautiful photos and because I have a keen interest in food, food personalities like The Pioneer Woman and Gordan Ramsay.

Of course, the main purpose of Instagram is to take and share photographs. In part 2 of this series I’ll show you how to take and edit images.

~ Cynthia