Here's How To Use Instagram

Instagram

Instagram, the hottest iPhone startup right now, isn’t complicated or even revolutionary.

It’s a simple photo-taking and photo-sharing app that has taken over Silicon Valley and is filling our Twitter feed with fun, cute photographs.

You can get it for free from Apple’s App Store.

What’s it for?

First, Instagram is for taking pictures, adding filters to make them look retro, and then for sharing them with sites like Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook.

And second, it’s a simple social network of other people’s photos. You can “like” or comment on the photos, and see what’s new. It’s easy and doesn’t take much time or effort. This is one of the reasons it has become so popular so quickly.

Here's what it looks like when you fire up the Instagram app. Let's create a new account first.

Type in the usual information, choose a user photo, etc.

You can find friends through your phone's contact list, by logging into Facebook or Twitter, or by searching the site's usernames

You'll recognise the standard Facebook Connect login, then you'll get a screen of your friends, which you can follow

Here's what the camera screen looks like. You can also pick a photo from your image library, switch to the front camera, or toggle the flash on and off. The big button at the bottom takes the picture.

Once you've captured your photo, you can pick a bunch of filters for it, to make your picture look funky or retro. This is one of the most popular features of Instagram.

Here's what it looks like when you add a location. It pulls in nearby places.

We've given our photo a caption, a location, and we're going to share it with Twitter.

And here's what it looks like.

The tweet goes out...

...and here's the page people see if they click from Twitter.

And here's how it looks in the Instagram news feed.

Tap on the picture in the popular section and you'll see it full-size.

That's about it. So, how is this a business?

For now, Instagram isn't much of a business. It's a cool product with some buzz. Attracting a ton of users and keeping them around is a different challenge.

But iPhone apps like this have proven themselves capable of generating revenue, primarily through paid apps or upgrades. Instagram could easily sell a pro version of its app, including more filters, storage, resolution. features, etc., for a dollar or two. And there's room for advertising and sponsorships within the app.

Whether they choose to make some money soon -- or wait a while, like Tumblr did -- is up to Instagram. For now, staying cool and building out the product is probably most important. But it's easy to see how a small business could quickly pop up.

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