Instagram: A Look Back

Instagram: A Look Back

Instagram Reaches 400 Million Users!

My first instagram taken at SXSW 2011.
My first instagram taken at SXSW 2011.

Instagram reached a milestone this week: 400 million users sharing more than 80 million photos per day. Whoa. In just five short years, this platform has changed the way we share and record our lives. I’m sure it’s champagne all around for founders Kevin Systrom (@kevin) and Mike Krieger (@mikeyk).

My first “insta” was posted (very fittingly) during SXSW 2011. Grainy image, no caption. Now even amateurs can create stunning works of art with nothing but a smart phone and in-app filters.

Instagram is a powerful platform for branding and visual storytelling, and with each new enhancement (advertising and full-size images) they make it more enticing.

My wish list?

  • An admin panel for managing multiple accounts
  • Post hyperlinks
  • In-app sharing

What’s on your insta wish list? While you’re thinking, check out this cool history of Instagram at WERSM and check out what I’ve been up to @ldlow.


Prescription for Productivity

I had the pleasure of presenting with PR rockstar Linda Rutherford (@SWAFollower), and some of my favorite new media peeps Lin Humphrey (@linhumphrey) and Kaley Daniel (@kaleydaniel) along with a whole slew of other practitioners from the local area and beyond. Sadly, I didn’t get to stay for the day, but the hashtag has all the highlights! #socialmedia201.

Let’s do this again!

And on the topic of productivity, here’s how Phil Libin (CEO of Evernote) organizes his Evernote stacks, notebooks, notes and tags.

Foursquare vs. Twitter

Is the checkin mightier than the tweet?
Is the checkin mightier than the tweet?

I was guest lecturing with a colleague (Scott Irlbeck) at an emerging media class this week and one of the students pointed out that Texas Tech has nearly as many followers on Foursquare as we do on Twitter.


Wait. That can’t be right. Can it?

Foursquare recently celebrated 10 million users, while Twitter has surpassed 200 million users (of course I’m betting 20% or more of those accounts are spam).

How is it possible that the Texas Tech twitter account that was launched in November, 2008, has just over 12,000 followers and our Foursquare account, launched in July last year, has nearly 11,000? I would love for the Texas Tech team to take all the credit, but I’m scratching my head over this one. We are located in Lubbock after all. Specials and discounts are not exactly easy to come by.

Is gamification really that powerful? I have more questions than I have answers. What do you think?

Aggregation or Plagiarism?

Are current aggregation practices crossing the line into plagiarism?
Are current aggregation practices crossing the line into plagiarism?

The almighty HuffPo was called out by Simon Dumenco of AdAge last week in his article What It’s Like to Get Used and Abused by The Huffington Post. Be sure and read the article. He makes a well-researched case against their aggregation habits.

Many of the publications I subscribe to (especially through email) aggregate other sources of content pretty heavily. I’m pretty used to it, after all, my guilty pleasure is celebrity gossip. TMZ is often the source for breaking entertainment news, but the entertainment biz has historically been more forthcoming with source credits. Enter Huffington Post, et al.

I am pretty disturbed by the aggregation of content without upfront attribution. It’s simply not enough to mention it at the end of a post. Aggregation of content works for everyone. I could only dream of being picked up by a major outlet. But, let’s face it, I would be pretty steamed if someone quoted me nearly word-for-word without proper attribution.

What do you think? Are we crossing a line in favor of sharing content?

Lisa DuBois Low is co-founder of SmartGirlsDigital and writes for the company blog, where this article originally ran. Follow SmartGirlsDigital on Twitter @SmartGirls2 and like us on Facebook.

Twitter: Waste of Time or Revolutionary Communication Tool?

Twitter. A waste of time or revolutionary communication tool?
Are all those tweets a colossal waste of time?

Two recent headlines caught me eye: Is Twitter a Waste of Time? (via Problogger) and Twitter Surpasses 200 Million Tweets Per Day (via Mashable).

What a dichotomy! The microblog lends itself so readily to volume, I guess it’s no revelation that more doesn’t necessarily equal better. I think it all depends on HOW you use it, just like anything else.

Waste of Time?

The biggest case for time waster: 40% of tweets are fragments of conversation. Very true. I often get interested in a twitter exchange, then have to back track to get the whole conversation.

Tweetdeck (with all it’s flaws) is my favorite Twitter time-saving/organizational tool that solves this problem. I can follow accounts with one click. Absolutely love it (well, except for the ipad version, it’s too slow).


The biggest case for revolutionary: hashtags. The lowly pound sign has been elevated to celebrity status. Tweetdeck to the rescue! It comes set up with a column showing trending topics/hashtags and also lets you follow hashtags with one click. But now that hashtags are mainstream, following last week’s Casey Anthony’s #notguilty verdict and the swan song for NASA’s #Atlantis launch, the columns were literally a blur. So I had to move to Twitter Web Access in order to make any sense of the conversations. Hopefully Tweetdeck is working on a manual throttle solution. Otherwise, hashtags are going to become useless.

Other interesting factoids from the Problogger research/infographic:

How we use twitter:

  • Learn about products/services 42%
  • Provide opinions about products/services 41%
  • Ask for opinions about products/services 31%
  • Seek customer support 19%

How you should use twitter:

  • Widen your network
  • Learn stuff
  • Showcase your stuff

I would add “Breaking News” to the list. Twitter works for me, how about you?

Lisa DuBois Low is co-founder of SmartGirlsDigital and writes for the company blog, where this article originally ran. Follow SmartGirlsDigital on Twitter @SmartGirls2 and like us on Facebook.

Headline: Facebook Places Don’t Grab Teens’ Attention

Facebook Places
The demise of the check-in is much exaggerated.
Admittedly, I’m a big fan of attention-grabbing headlines, so when this one popped up in my Facebook feed I quickly skimmed the article and shot off a quick email to my colleagues with the link without thinking too much about it.

As an early adopter of location/geobased marketing, I’ve been pondering the implications so I saved a link in evernote to make sure I could reference it again. After further review it occurred to me I had never heard of Dubit before, so I hunted for the research referenced in the article. It took several Google attempts (never a good sign), but I finally found the original.

Dubit surveyed 1,000 teens aged between 11-18 years of age with an equal balance between gender and age. The attention-grabbing bit is “nearly half of 11-18 year-olds have not heard of foursquare or Facebook places.” That’s big. However, what the All Facebook article doesn’t disclose is that the research was conducted in the UK. I think that’s pretty big too, don’t you?

As a side note, without warning Facebook rolled the check-in function to the Texas Tech University page on Friday. Less than 3 check-in’s showed in the analytics. As of the time of this writing, there have been more than 2,000. This anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean much, but my 11 year-old already knows Facebook Places well so I’m not convinced. Yet. I’ll keep watching.