Tag Archives: Instagram

One More Thought About That Instagram Thing…

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After I wrote that post about what I’ve been doing to step up my “Instagram game” this past weekend, I realized that I left out something very important. It didn’t make sense for me to edit the original post and write the update at the bottom. Instead I wanted to wait a couple of days to think a little bit more about what I was going to say and then write another post. I’m not about to tell you anything that you haven’t heard before.

Another important lesson that I learned from taking “good Instagram photos” is that we project how we want to be seen by others. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but the longer I went on with this the more I found this to be true. When I returned home to Seattle this past June, I caught up with a few friends that I don’t regularly keep in touch with and they all couldn’t stop telling me the same thing.

“You look like you’re doing well and you seem really happy at least from your Instagram!”

Well, little do you know, right? My year of being 25 was just as hard as my 23rd year. Just because your Instagram looks perfect and you’ve set the right constrast and highlights, you yourself, are not perfect. I won’t deny that on those harder days, even those validating “likes” could temporarily make me feel better – make me feel like my experiences were a little more exciting or that I was a little bit closer to home. We may not all admit it, but these feelings resonate within a lot of us, people you know and even those power Instagram users. There was a story earlier this year that ESPN wrote about college athlete Madison Holleran who very much projected a happy life through her Instagram while struggling with a lot more beneath the surface of her photos. Of course, I want my feed to project happiness, but if we’re being honest here – my photos don’t always reflect how I’m feeling inside and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with just admitting that.

*We rarely showecase on our social media if we’re feeling sad or unhappy, but I found this rare one that I took back in 2013
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The Instagram Project

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If you’ve been following my Instagram page for the last four months, then you may have noticed a signifcant change in the way that I’ve been posting my photos as opposed to when I first started my account. My co-worker Emily is someone that I find pretty knowledgeable in Instagram given that she runs an account for her cats that does reasonably well. When I picked her brain awhile back about how I could gain followers for my account so that I could build upon Yow Yow, she gave me a very simple answer: Hashtags.

But wait, doesn’t that look kind of spammy?

Not if you put all of the hashtags in the comment section instead of the caption.” 

Caturday

Interesting. So I followed her advice. We happened to be together on “Caturday” at Dolores Park and after editing my photo and posting it, she helped me line up a variety of hashtags. (#cutecats #Saturday #DoloresPark #SF #adorable #cute #cats #catz etc.) Shortly after, the likes poured in. We ended at 54 and I was hooked. I convinced myself that I could do this experiment for another week, but naturally that ended up being four months. I was really put off by the hashtags at first so after I had received the desired number of likes that I was hoping for, I would go back and delete my hashtags comment. However, I learned that if I kept it there without deleting that users would continue to like my photos even weeks after.

That was just one of the things that I learned from this project, but I actually learned a lot more and have some pretty interesting stats to include in this post as well. Let’s start with the stats:

In my four months of doing this I had:

  • 8 regular photographers (people that have taken at least two photos for me. Most of them were my co-workers)
  • 17 photos of my food
  • 38 photos of my outfit
  • been to 3 different cities
  • staged 15 of my photos (had to rearrange things on a table/the way they would be taken)
  • spilled Jamba Juice on my bed. (This actually happened today so I’m still clearly a n00b)

Takeaways:

  • I still haven’t figured out how to gain a significant amount of followers like I had hoped. I gained more than 48, but if I count all of the followers that have been added since this project and stayed “following” that’s the number I have.
  • I was never going to really take off as an “Instagram” star. Unfortunately when Instagram came out, I think I was still using an old school Blackberry so all other bloggers had a huge advantage over me.
  • If I wanted to continue a following, I needed to post everyday at least once a day. I felt a weird sense of pressure from this and as a result felt like I didn’t have enough clothes to rotate into my shots (had to buy more!) and had to continuously look for inspiration.
  • Doing this project made me a better photographer. When I look back on all of the photos I took prior to doing this, I realized I was just taking photos “in the moment” and of my friends and random things that no one really cared about. Those photos just don’t get likes.
  • I still despise the #nofilter hashtag and refuse to use it ever.
  • I started asking myself the question, “Why would people care about this photo?” Why do people care about a group photo or a single shot of my friend from across the table? They don’t. But random strangers care about it if you hashtag it correctly and they’re the ones who will like your photo.
  • It’s very hard to like your first shot. Sometimes, I would come out of a session with 30 photos that I had to continuously delete in a row in order to get to the $$$ shot. There’s lot of photos in between that just don’t “look right” because a strand of hair is in my face or my eyes are blinking or my mouth is open.
  • I still have yet to post a “selfie!” and I probably won’t just because I don’t think I can get it right and they make me feel uncomfortable.
  • Even though I had a set of hashtags that I always used and knew would do well, I still had some doubts that I was missing out on other hashtags that could do better that I wasn’t using.

Tips:

  • If you’re going to capitalize on the fashion thing and the OOTD, then you’ve got to do it in moderation. I learned this lesson the hard way. I once had 3 outfits posts in a row. It didn’t hurt my likes very much, but when looking at the “whole” page of my Instagram, it looked off and didn’t display a “lifestyle” which is what people would rather see. Imagine a whole feed of outfits. No one really wants that.
  • I’ve heard that taking photos in the “Square” function of your camera gives you the best shots. I’ve tried it a few times now, but since I have so many photos with more of the white space around it, sometimes it looks out of place. What I like about the square though is that it kind of centers everything and makes it a lot easier for cropping. I’ll use this feature more when I’m trying to capture more of my outfit.
  • I definitely prefer having photos with more of the whitespace in the background. When looking at all of my photos as a whole, I just like that they give my Instagram page more of a uniform look, but I’ve read that it also provides people with more “visual relief” when scrolling through their feed. Because of this, it garners more likes.
  • Find a buddy! My friend Alex was also trying to step up his Instagram game around the same time as me so we would go on shoots together, give each other advice and basically lean on each other. When no one else understood what I was doing, it was great to have him around.
  • When possible, always include a location for where you’re at. That gives you a couple more hashtags to use.
  • If you’re trying to break into the fashion market, tag the brands you’re wearing. During the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I Instagrammed a Rebecca Minkoff bag that I fell in love with that I couldn’t afford and Nordstrom sent me a $50 gift card! Uniqlo has commented several times on my photos that they’d like to re-use my photo (they haven’t yet) but I have hope someday that they could so I keep trying.
  • High volume Instagram days don’t mean that you’re going to get likes. ie) Father’s Day. Because everyone is doing it and you’re not special. Your dads are – you just aren’t. On Instagram.
  • Just because your meal tastes delicious doesn’t mean it looks good.
  • Be courteous on Instagram. If someone random likes your photo, try and go to their page and give them a couple likes as well. If they leave a comment on your page, do the same.

This is still my favorite photo from this time period.

This is still the most liked photo at 73 likes and the first photo in the series of “outfit” posts.

Tools that I use: 

  • VSCO Cam for editing
  • Squaregram for the whitespace background
  • Twitter for sharing – most of the time I won’t share to Facebook though

Related articles:

So we’ve done 4 months of this. What now? Well, to be honest, Instagram has been way more fun since I started wanting to take better photos that I don’t really want to go back to what I was doing before. We’re going to continue on with the photos, the outfits, and the hashtags, and we’re looking forward to more learning and what happens next!

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In Random Instagrams of the Day…

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Taylor Swift said Happy Birthday to her BFF Karlie Kloss today and hey – Calvin Harris just happens to be in the photo too. We see you, Taylor.

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Proud Owner:

This past week, I learned something very important about myself. I am very easily influenced by things I see on Instagram and after seeing a piece on another blogger, I immediately believe that I have to own that same piece. It happened twice this week. So I have a problem. This dress was one of them. I actually saw this in a bright neon yellow/mustard being worn by a girl who works at one of the Free People stores back in Seattle who I follow and without even trying it on, my first thought was – “how can I buy this right now?” I couldn’t find it online unfortunately, but I did manage to find my way to an Urban Outfitters this past week where I discovered this in blue and after pulling it over my head, it was basically a done deal. The back cuts down pretty low and deep so it’s not something that would be appropriate for work I don’t think, but it’s completely perfect for a night out. I bought this in a royal blue… but I may buy it in the yellow too.

Staring at Stars Strappy Back-Swing Dress – $69

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Blog Roundup

– I can’t even with these sushi beach towels [Colossal]

– The pain of being in love with someone you can never be with [Elite Daily]

– 15 rules for an unconventional wedding [The Coveteur]

– Things to avoid when eating out [The Guardian]

– The Real World is casting in SF next month, do you have what it takes? [7×7]

– Silicon Valley Dictionary – like Urban Dictionary, but a place where people only in tech can truly relate [Silicon Valley Dictionary]

– The most popular foods across the world calculated by Instagram [Photoworld]

– The best amenity kits in first class by airline [Afar]

– How to recover from an all-nighter

– Calculate how much time you’ve spent watching your favorite television shows [tiii.me]

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Blog Roundup

– Los Angeles Photographer Emily Knecht captured herself in crying selfies for the last three years. [i-D]

– The best and worst airlines, airports, and flights – a summer 2015 report [FiveThirtyEight]

– The one haircut that all women love on men [Esquire]

– How good is your eyesight? I scored 20 and this was so much harder than I thought! [iGame]

– This device blows a bubble to notify you of your upcoming meetings. [Swiss-Miss]

– Shaving dogs into cubes is becoming a new trend in Japan [MTV]

– When to close your eyes [Instagram]

Most Exclusive Website [Herman Yung]

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Instagram’s Redesign

Instagram's Redesign

Oh my goodness, Instagram rolled out a redesign of user profiles this week and it is gorgeous. I love how clean and simplified everything looks like now along with the rounded profile pictures which are popping up everywhere! This is a huge upgrade from what it looked like before because now the photos are larger and more of a focus. It’s funny how excited I got about this, but I think a lot of that excitement has come from me working in tech now.

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Blog Roundup

– 50 Incredible hotels to stay at in your lifetime [Business Insider]

– “Why I gave up a 95K job to move to an island” [Cosmopolitan]

– Getty Images is giving out 30K grants to Instagrammers [High Snobiety]

– Justin Rosenstein (co-founder of Asana) shares his tips for increasing productivity [Quora]

– Whoa, Bestie Row? [Lighter Side of Real Estate]

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Blog Roundup

– Throwback! Facebook is bringing back the “away message.” [Nylon]

– What Spotify users prefer to fall asleep to. Any guesses? [Billboard]

– Anthony Bourdain’s 3 best tips for eating out when traveling abroad [Entrepreneur]

– 20 mistakes inexperienced managers make from an Amazon exec via Quora [Business Insider]

– An illustrative guide to the most annoying trends on Instagram [Distractify]

– Summertime in a cup! Starbucks is introducing your campfire favorite (S’mores!) as a frapp. It will hit stores April 28th and you better believe we’ll be the first to try it! [Refinery29]

– The best food to order at every single major league baseball park [Esquire]

– Late night munchies? SF has got you covered. [Refinery29]

– 5 career mistakes that are OK to make in your 20’s [WhoWhatWear]

– Overdue, but we said goodbye to The Bold Italic :( [The Bold Italic]

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Blog Roundup

– What the biggest companies are from each state [Gizmodo]

– America’s coolest rooftop bars [Travel and Leisure] whoo Seattle!

– 10 menswear blogs every guy should know [Cool Material] I’m reading them too!

– 12 menswear Instagrammers to follow [Cool Material]

– Dov Charney to sue American Apparel [Refinery29]

– All the jobs and the money you can be making in them – a chart! [Vox]

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You Did Not Eat That

audrina

I don’t know about you guys, but I have become a little bit annoyed when I see Instagram photos of pretty and delicate bloggers/models, celebrities etc. eating foods that you wouldn’t expect them to eat in the first place. Sure they’re posing with a burger or an ice cream cone, but …do we know if they actually ate the whole thing or just used it for an Instagram shot. Here’s a photo above of Audrina Patridge gorging on In N’ Out. Granted, there’s no way to figure out if they did eat it because we weren’t there, but one Instagram account holder seems to believe that all of these people are just using these food items for props and you know what? It’s not a ridiculous idea.

Check out the Instagram here.

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A Toy Plane and an iPhone

There are Instagram users that become insta-famous for their selfies. Then there are Instagram users like Varun Thota who challenge us to look at photographs in a different way. Using a toy plane and his iPhone, Varun takes his plane on a journey with every snap.

Macau-based web designer and developer Varun Thota is the son of a helicopter and a devoted flight enthusiast. His childhood was filled with hours in front flight simulators and even today he carries a small Kinder egg airplane that he likes to photograph against dramatic backgrounds, as if a hand was reaching out of the sky controling each flight. It’s a simple enough idea, but wonderfully executed by Thota. You can see more over on his Instagram account. (via the Instagram Blog)

[Source]

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ban.do

Too Cold Too Hold Drink Sleeve – $5

I recently stumbled upon ban.do online and haven’t been able to take my eyes of their products. Every Instagram photo of theirs is adorable and the products on their website ooze of cuteness. They all would make some of the most perfect gifts for my girlfriends. Have any of you heard of them before or even purchased any of their products? They’re a shop that I am really excited about. Here are just a few things that I would want for myself and to give:

Continue reading

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The Humblebrag

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So it’s been a few days since this actually happened and everything has kind of blown of since then, but seeing this text made me feel incredibly uncomfortable! No one can deny that Macklemore has done such great things for the city of Seattle and has turned things around in the scene. Locals are excited about him and proud. Taking home as many Grammys as he did on Sunday night was quite the achievement, but it quickly turned sour the next morning when he wrote this tweet and instagramed this text.

It is what we call “the humblebrag.” It wasn’t enough that you couldn’t privately text this to Kendrick, but you had to publicize it as well? Why do people need to see this? You had a standout performance at the Grammys and you married some couples which was kind of cool, but it kind of begs us to ask – what exactly is Macklemore looking for? Another pat on the back? Some more praise and additional respect from fans saying that he acknowledged that maybe he didn’t deserve Best Rap Album, but he’s telling Kendrick that in a personal text and needs the entire world to see it?

I like what Macklemore stands for and he’s done work this year, but this was in poor taste and I didn’t like it.

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Photo of the Day:

It’s almost like we can always expect something a little outrageous and whimsical from Jennifer Lawrence at these kinds of events. We’re okay with it.

Jennifer Lawrence took home a Golden Globe this evening for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for American Hustle.

[Source]

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