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October 21, 2010

Instant //

Given the reduced amount of writing I’ve been doing the last, oh, year or so, and the amount of photography gear I’ve acquired during that same time, I think it’s safe to say I’ve rekindled an old love of documenting important events and daily minutiae in photo form, more than in words.

Instagram shots
A handful of my Instagram photos

The problem with photography for me is that much of it I want to share with friends, family and other curated acquaintances (née internet friends). That can quickly turn into a lot of work — downloading photos from the camera (or scanning them in when dealing with Polaroids — another “hobby”), curating, editing and retouching, adding metadata, then uploading. This all takes a long time; time I could be doing other things.

Mix in additional complexity from having multiple cameras — my trusty Canon 30D, the main workhorse of the lot, a Polaroid SX70 land camera, a newer 600 speed Polaroid camera and of course the ubiquitous iPhone which generally acts as my go-to camera when out and about, and the whole thing gets to be a bit much most of the time. Particularly with competing requests for my attention.

Enter the recent release of what some might call “yet another camera app” for the iPhone: Instagram. Boring, right? Actually, not so much.

This one has thus far proven to be special in a way I didn’t expect. It doesn’t do too much that I’d call “new” but what it does do is take all that tedious work and, for lack of a better way to say it, makes it fun again. Or at least makes it “easy”.

Instagram’s killer feature is that it can simultaneously upload a photo to my photostream on Flickr while sharing it on Twitter. It’s also very quick about it all and happens to produce generally great results.

What would make me happier though is if Instagram would share a short link from Flickr instead of their own when passing off to Twitter. It’s simply because I prefer to have my photo content in one bucket, not spread around in too many sites simultaneously despite it meaning additional redundancy. Allowing the user to define their preferred social sharing mechanism would be a nice touch.

And while I really don’t need another social network/app to monitor, Instagram hasn’t been too obnoxious about it, at least not yet. Frankly, it’s been fun so far. I hope it continues to be.

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