What a summer! As Emilia, mentioned, we both made some big changes. After five years at Google (and the last three months spent in the London office), I decided to try something new and join the start-up world. I loved every minute of my time at Google and I’m so grateful for all the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met (hmm…my husband, Emilia, and so many other close friends!). But now I’m part of a fantastic team at a new company called AppStack. AppStack is a start-up that makes mobile easy for local businesses and I’m going to be working on finding great partnerships for our amazing platform. Lots of new challenges but really loving it so far! On top of that, Ani and I will be moving to Los Angeles at the end of the month. A little sad to leave the amazing city of Chicago but both of us are excited to start a new adventure in LA!
So what else did I do this summer? A little over a month ago my sister took a great new job in Austin and I was lucky enough to road trip with her (and my mom, my dad, and our dog, Bella) from New Orleans to her new town. Since we hadn’t had a family road trip in quite some time, I wanted to share our little adventure with our friends along the way. Enter Instagram, the “fast, beautiful photo sharing” app. Within 30 seconds I could turn a pretty ordinary phone pic into something beautiful and worth sharing. Or at least have fun playing with filters in between apartment hunting and trips to Target and IKEA. Instagram has been getting a lot of buzz lately since Facebook is trying to buy the 13-person company for $1 BILLION (!) dollars but once you play with this (free!) app, you’ll understand how addicting it is.
How I use it
I use Instagram to highlight my favorite pictures or moments. I rarely share a full album of pictures on Facebook anymore – too time consuming and I don’t love their interface or privacy settings. But Instagram lets me choose my favorite pictures, add a filter to make them look special, and then instantly share them. Ordinary picture of Bella? Now much cuter (if that’s possible). Shot of the Texas State Capitol? Now much cooler.
Instagram is it’s own mini-social network. Your pictures default to public (so anyone using Instagram can view them) or you can choose to make your account private. Only people who you approve to follow you (for example your close friends) will be able to view your pictures. After you finish editing your photo, you can choose where to share it. In addition to posting to your Instagram feed (where your followers will see the picture) you can also share the picture to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and now Flickr. I personally stick to just Facebook. For example, I shared an Instagram of my sister and me with our friends on Facebook – look, we are not only surviving this trip but eating bbq and blackberry cobbler!
You can also add the location (geo-tag) using your camera’s GPS. Add the name of the restaurant, the landmark, or the city where the picture was taken. Instagram automatically saves the picture to your camera roll so you can then email, download, or share on other services (I will usually share a batch on Google+). Where were we having lunch in this pic? (South Congress Cafe) Where are those delicious cupcakes from? (Hey! Cupcake) Now that info is stored with the picture.
And Instagram just added a cool new feature called Photo Maps. When you tag the location of your photos, you can view a map with your photos overlaid where they were taken. It gives a whole new visual perspective to your adventures.
I also use Instagram to follow my friends’ highlights. It’s a different view into their world. What are they up to? (Oh, Emilia just ate that delicious looking burger…)
Why I love it
-really easy, fun interface
–your pictures instantly look better! I know photography experts will cringe but for those of us who like to pretend to be creative but are actually lazy and taking pictures on our phones, this is a fun way to make your pictures more interesting.
-you can see the world through the eyes of your friends. What did they think was beautiful or funny or worth sharing from their day? I can follow my close friends and see their pictures in my feed.
-instantly creates your own digital scrapbook / photo map. Collects the highlights for you in one place, making them beautiful and capturing the location.
How to get started
- download the app for iPhones in the AppStore or for Android phones in the Google Play Store
- make your account private: on the home screen of the app, click the icon all the way to the right that looks like an ID card.
- On an iPhone, scroll down to where you see “Privacy” and slide it to where you see ON.
- For an Android, click the top right corner for settings, go to “Photo Privacy” and make sure the box is checked.
- take a picture on your phone, choose a filter, post to Instagram!
If you’re already an Instagram pro, here are some additional programs to try:
- Instaport – simple way to export all of your Instagrams when you don’t feel like connecting your phone to your computer
- Coastermatic – print your Instagrams on sandstone coasters!
- The Lumi Process – print your instagrams on fabric to make them wearable!