Um, Wait -- What Is Instagram?

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Photo: @goodyspics via Instagram

If you didn’t know what Instagram was before this week, you’ve probably at least heard of it by now.That’s because Facebook just shelled out $1 billion in cash and stock to buy the photo-sharing app.

The premise behind Instagram is pretty simple: Snap a photo on your iPhone or Android, add a quirky filter, and share it across Instagram’s internal network or Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.

So why do people love Instagram so much?

Take our tour and find out.

But first, download the free app for iPhone or Android.

After downloading, tap the icon to launch Instagram.

Welcome. Time to sign in or create your account. All you need to do is create a user name or password. We already have an account, so we'll just log in.

Enter your username and password.

The home screen is a feed of all your friends' photos. You can like or comment on photos from here.

The star tab at the bottom shows you popular, trending photos on Instagram.

The heart tab is where you find news and updates. The News tab shows you whenever someone likes or comments on one of your photos. It also lets you know when a new person starts following you.

The Following tab gives you news and updates on what your Instagram friends are up to.

The final tab lets you find new friends, look at your photos, and change other basic settings. Let's find some new friends!

You can find friends you follow on Facebook or Twitter. You can also have the app scan your phone's contacts list for friends already using Instagram.

Instagram needs permission to scan your phone's address book.

Tap the follow button next to someone to start following him or her. Their photos will show up in your feed from now on.

You can also check out Instagram's suggested list of popular users.

Now let's take a photo! Tap the camera icon at the bottom. Tap it again to snap the photo. Now comes the fun part...

You can choose from a whole bunch of cool effects and filters to modify your photo. Play around until you get it just right.

We'll go with this filter. Tap the check mark when you're ready to share your photo.

Now write a caption. If you want, you can geotag your photo by location.

We're at Business Insider HQ, so we'll select that as our location.

Voila! Our masterpiece is out there for the world to see.

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