Instagram turns ten years old this year if you can believe that. An entire decade has passed since one of the world’s most popular social media platforms got its start. From humble beginnings to massive social media giant, the service has grown and evolved much in its lifetime. Here, we’ll take a look back at the last decade of Instagram success, how the platform has made it easier than ever for people to connect, and the impact the service has had on the world at large.
Instagram started out humble enough, created by two men in San Francisco. The app was originally called something else, but the name Instagram stuck and thus, the app was called that in its final form. After raising hundreds of thousands of dollars from investment firms, the two men launched their app for the first time in October of 2010, and Instagram was born.
The app was pretty successful in its first few months, with over two million users signing up before the first year was up. It became the most popular photography app in both Android and Apple stores, and people loved it. The very first Instagram post is an adorable picture of a dog, which would become a staple for users for years to come. Images of pets are some of the most-viewed pictures on the platform even to this day.
Instagram’s overnight success attracted the attention of some big names, including a little social media app called Facebook. At the time, Facebook was still climbing in popularity as well, becoming the world’s number one social media platform. In 2012, the giant bought Instagram for a whopping one billion dollars and has owned it ever since. With two media giants combined, the possibilities were pretty much endless.
Instagram gave users a chance to gather followers and create unique content. Whether you buy IG followers to boost your numbers, or have grown your page organically since day one, you’re part of a global community over one billion strong.
Instagram has been credited with social impact on both the good and the bad side of things. Social media in itself seems to be linked with a decrease in self-esteem among other issues, and, allegedly, Instagram is one of the worst for creating these kinds of feelings. The app has been the target of criticism for creating a narcissistic and vanity-friendly platform in which users can dote over themselves and constantly compare each other in a not always friendly way.
In an effort to combat the lack of authenticity and reduce its negative social impact, Instagram recently decided to do some testing on removing its likes altogether. This move was met with mixed reviews, but the Instagram team assures the public that it was made with the best intentions for its users. Removing likes takes away the constant comparison, as well as helps drastically reduce the sporadic posting solely for the purpose of getting likes; or so Instagram hopes.
Whether or not this will undo any damage that’s been done has yet to be seen, but Instagram hasn’t been responsible for only a negative impact on social issues.
Making Real Change
According to ViralRace, since Instagram is available to everyone, there has been a drastic shift in how beauty standards are defined thanks to the diversity of the platform. Instagram models come in all shapes, sizes and varieties; from plus-size models advocating for the beauty of plus-size people, trans models fighting for basic rights, or less-than-perfect faces changing how we see beauty. These changes have made some impact on the world at large, and it seems like there’s a general shift going on as greater awareness has been brought to the problem.
Where before impossible beauty standards were the norm, people are moving away from these billboard-friendly standards and toward a more realistic point of view when it comes to women and their bodies/faces. While we can’t necessarily give Instagram all of the credit, it’s still provided a great platform for giving these types a voice of their own.
That’s the beauty of Instagram; anyone can join, anyone can post content, and anyone can feel great in their own skin with the support of like-minded communities. On the flip side of the coin, the number of people on the platform means the competition and number of differing opinions are greater than ever. Plus-size models and others have found themselves under scrutiny on the platform as well as receiving praise for their efforts.
Additionally, Instagram has become a haven for activist pages like Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes. The platform has helped these causes reach a wider audience than ever, expanding the reach of the message and the impact it has on society as a whole. Never before has activism been able to spread so quickly and easily, and Instagram can connect with your Facebook account for even easier sharing options.
What Lies Ahead
With so much progress over the years, what lies ahead for the social media giant? With the introduction of IGTV, Instagram is taking the leap into long-feature video content to stand up to the likes of YouTube and other streaming platforms. In addition, the like button is more than likely going to be removed altogether.
As Instagram continues to grow and attract new users, we’re sure to see changes occurring to meet the needs of the community at large and to continuously improve the platform as a whole.
Instagram has also introduced Instagram business, which is an upgraded personal account complete with extra tools that businesses can use to maximize their Instagram potential.
With analytics tools, you can see how your posts are performing, and with ads tools, you can create the perfect marketing campaign to advertise your products or services. Instagram serves millions of businesses and brands already, and any modern business that isn’t on Instagram is certainly missing out. That’s where the customers are, after all!
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