Even Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, gets sick of endless sunset pics.
When Katie Couric asked Systrom on stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit what makes a good Instagram picture, he said that when the company started, everybody thought that it was about sharing “art.”
In that vein, people cared about making sure images looked symmetric or that they used the exact right filter to bring out the pink in the sky.
But, sharing art isn’t the point of Instagram, Systrom says.
He remembers that the day that Facebook bought Instagram, he got up in front of the company and said, “Just so everyone knows, we’re not a photo sharing company. I don’t see photos on Instagram as art. They’re much more about communication.”
So, he says that a good Instagram post is about whether or not it shows a truly authentic perspective. For example, he says, accounts should be cohesive, telling the story about a person’s life, and who they are. Any photo that’s authentic to that is a good post, filter or no filter.
One account he loves is from Drew Kelly in North Korea who uploads photos of daily life there, with regular people doing regular things. Each post may not be the “best” photo, but the consistency of the perspective allows him to communicate about a culture people wouldn’t otherwise see.
Systrom also says that every so often he’ll go through his account and ask himself, “Who haven’t I ‘liked’ lately?” Then, boom: He’ll unfollow them. After all, he says, there are 400 million other accounts he could follow.
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