What’s Buzzing in Vancouver #4: A Look at the Social Media Landscape in VanCity

There are usually two types of people who use social media. There are those that occasionally check their news feeds, peruse through tweets, casually roam YouTube, and periodically browse pinboards. Then there are the those (and you know who you are) who use social media as their stage. Their lives appear utterly fabulous; smiles, laughter, tagging and good times are constant, abundant, and never-ending. Whether it’s the latest vacation destination or yet another super-cool-and-trendy event, before they even step out of the cab they are immediately changing their status to showcase their latest escapades.

Adding to this allure and romance is Instagram, the free mobile application that changes the look and feel of standard photo.  Simply by snapping an image with your phone, you can enhance a seemingly boring picture with colour, lighting, borders, and professional finishes. Share the world as you see it–or at least a much prettier version of it.

Unlike other social media sites, Instagram is about wordless expression. The saying “seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses” is exactly what this platform enables people to do, which is probably why Facebook paid one billion dollars to acquire it last April.  Within its realm, you can become an artist, painting your reality with each effortlessly altered photo.

To connect with the 30 million users who are equally as addicted to this platform, there are a few things to consider when building your audience. Hashtags, commenting, and ‘liking’ other’s photos to build a rapport always helps. You can also use applications to compliment the Instagram experience, like PicFrame, Diptic, and PhotoShake!, which combine multiple photos so you can create before-and-after comparisons and sequence shots. Other sites like Instagrid and Webstagram enable you and your friends to view the latest shots on the web.

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, which probably explains the appeal of translating your life through imagery. Combined with the ease of a mobile application, Instagram makes everything look a little more interesting. Perhaps its surge in popularity in less than it’s two year life span is merely a reminder that sometimes all we need is a pair of rose-coloured glasses to see the world a little differently.