It's rare that I get really, really excited about a new social network, but that's happening to me with Instagram. My friend Ann Handley introduced me to it last month and I am loving it.
Since there are already ten million Instagram users, I'm certainly not an early adopter, so forgive me if you're already an Instagram pro.
Instagram is a photo sharing iPhone application that makes it easy and fun to manipulate a photo with various filters and turn it into instant art. Then with a few clicks, you can share your photo with a caption via Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.
Here's what my photo Sunset over Florida and the wing of a 757 looks like on the Instagram site. Here it is on Twitter. And on Facebook. It took about a minute to snap, filter, and update my social sites.
I love that Instagram makes it so easy to create content. In my travels, one of the first things people push back on is how much time they think it takes to create content and publish it on the Web. Instagram is easy. It takes a minute or two. Others say they cannot write so they are hopeless on social sites. Well with Instagram, you aren’t writing (except maybe a caption) so even word-challenged people can create awesome content.
There are tens of thousands of social networks out there. Many are copycats of existing networks or add just a tiny incremental feature to another network. They don't succeed.
True new ideas as social networks are rare – I can count on one hand the social networks that I felt that "wow" factor that I had found a new way to create and share content. YouTube makes video sharing easy. Twitter is for sharing short messages. Facebook for connecting with friends, Foursquare on my whereabouts, and now Instagram for photos.
Instagram is cool because it allows content sharing but with a twist. It is photography turned into instant art and it is addictive (at least for me).
When I have a few minutes of downtime, I like to pull out my iPhone and scroll through the photos of the people I follow on Instagram. It is like a stroll through an art gallery.
It was really cool that as soon as I jumped on Instagram a few weeks ago, some of my friends found me and started following. It was so quick. I am now connected to people in a new way.