Last week, I struck up a conversation with a stylish young woman, and when the conversation turned to blogging, she said that she had one as well. “Oh cool!” I exclaimed, and asked, “what's the website?” “No website address,” she replied, “it's on Instagram.” Huh?
Don't get me wrong; I love Instagram as much as everyone else, and it's definitely my #1 social media obsession, but I never considered that it could be on the same playing field as a blog. A complimentary vehicle, yes, but when I consider all of the time and energy invested into my blog, from the design aspects and branding to writing, visuals, advertising, and more, I don't see how it could be even remotely considered the same.
What is most striking, however, is thinking about the elements of Instagram, and how it can influence, and perhaps even lead to an evolution of traditional blogging. Here's three points to consider that Instagram does well, and can be conducive to a better blogging experience:
The Emphasis on the Visual
We are such a visual culture, that part of the success of Instagram is playing right into that, satiating our needs and desires while giving us an endless amount of visual satisfaction to scroll through, search, and find. It reinforces storytelling through images (and sometimes videos), and can directly show you, via likes and comments, how successful that point of view (or choice of filter) that you have taken may be with your audience. It pushes us to take a longer pause when thinking about images, and positions us to challenge ourselves to constantly improve in taking (and editing) them.
Timeliness of posting is important, as well as honing in our captioning skills to be witty, searchable, and succinct.
Elaborating on the last point, attention spans, especially in the online realm for reading, is surprisingly short. Unlike Twitter, Instagram doesn't keep you to a word count in order to post, however being brief is lauded, while being lengthy may result in the post being skipped over. The norm of text simplification in Instagram can be a bummer for those of us whose strength is writing, but on the other hand, it can pose a challenge to hone in our copy writing skills and get to the point faster than ever.
Since direct linking out is not (yet) part of the platform, which can be an annoyance for some, but think of it this way: it's one less thing to worry about! Now you can focus on TWO things: images, and writing. There's something kinda freeing in that, isn't there?
Freedom from Web Hosting & Domains
Speaking of, if you've ever had your blog develop a glitch, spam issues, a crashed server, broken code, etc, it may come as relief to contemplate a life without worrying about, or dealing with those things. Hosting, domains, email addresses — not necessary in the world of Instagram! It holds all of your content, which means you can save that hosting money for a rainy day, and ultimately lower the costs that you've sunk into your blog.
On the contrary, of course, that means that whoever is hosting ultimately has control and owns the content, so you can only do so much in having precedence over it and monetizing it, just as if you use Blogger or WordPress' free hosting options. It would be nice if there was a simpler way to deal with and solve this issues for a traditional blog, and perhaps it will lead to the predominant platforms in offering competitive and more secure, free, and flexible options when it comes to hosting.
What do you think; do you consider Instagram to be a blog?
[Photo via Kristina Bazan]