It’s your average Wednesday afternoon in 2010 when Instagram founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom take the plunge into darkness of launching photo-sharing app Instagram. Now I know what you’re thinking, a) Shit, Instagram is seven years old. SEVEN. I am OLD, and b) Instagram is currently so much more than just a photo-sharing app. Well, Krieger and Systrom never really envisioned their app to be anything more than just that. The pair never in a million years thought that Instagram could act as a recruitment tool, marketing platform, and could change people’s lives, like the way it changed mine.
I must admit, I was pretty late to the Instagram craze. I joined in the summer of 2010, and my first photo was of a marble Buddha paperweight my mother bought on holiday. Aesthetic. Following about 80 people, mainly consisting of my friends and family and the odd celeb, I was yet to see the wonders that Instagram could work. Mind you, Instagram was predominantly sunset pics, group photos from a gals holiday, and hideously over-filtered selfies at the time, so my post wasn’t much of a sore thumb. Yet in the middle of all of these poorly edited and over-hashtagged photos making us feel like we were professional photographers, lay a creature like no other. A creature with so unique and rare, they live solely on Instagram. Enter, the blogger.
Say what you will of bloggers, but Instagram is truly their territory. While us non-bloggers spent all of our time deliberating whether to use Valencia or Sierra on a photo of our dog, bloggers claimed the throne as rightful Instagram rulers by doing three simple things: interacting with others, promoting clothing without being asked, and providing quality, engaging content to Instagram’s users. From the beginning, Insta was way more than just a photo-sharing app for bloggers. Ultimately an online photographic CV, the simplicity of Instagram made it extremely easy for brands and employers to engage with bloggers, thus spawning Instagram as a 9-5 way to make a livin’.
Soon after the success of bloggers, Instagram’s content began to change. We were all suddenly much more careful with our filter choices (staying very, verrrry far away from Lo-Fi), and sparing with our hashtags. Come early 2013, the generic Instagram user was able to see the milk and honey bloggers were sippin’ on. Sponsored holidays to the Caribbean, free clothes, and enviable partnerships were being handed to bloggers like candy, candy that I definitely wanted a taste of. By this point, I was 16, and my Instagram profile mirrored that of most British 16-year-old’s – embarrassing photos pissed off 3 WKDs, angsty selfies overdosed with black eye-liner, and ~artsy~ Tumblr pics. With just a few clicks, I deleted all things personal, set up a blog, and shot my first fashion blog in my back garden. Before I continue, let me just state that it certainly wasn’t easy, certainly not as easy as most bloggers and influencers today convey. There’s a lot of sleepless nights and frustration that goes into making your content look effortless. But once you’ve got the ball rolling, you never have to look back.
Since creating a blog four years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with major fashion brands, cover London Fashion Week, and was ultimately scouted to be a model. Now, I’m in no way saying this is going to be the case for everyone, especially if you’re not willing to put the graft in. Instagram can act as a full-time job sometimes, and I often resent it, but if it wasn’t for Instagram I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today. Additionally, Instagram isn’t just for fashion bloggers and influencers – if you use it right, you can accomplish anything. That job in recruitment you wanted? Just a simple search of #recruitment and you’ll be directed to either someone working in recruitment, or employers recruiting employees. When it comes to Instagram, don’t hold back. With 700 million users active monthly on Instagram, it is now easier than ever to communicate with someone in your field. I’ve made friends, relationships, career prospects, and much more just from a simple double-tap on the ‘gram. Next time you open the app, think to yourself what you want to accomplish, whether it be a new job, meeting a partner, a business venture, getting fit, learning to cook, anything. Then do a little search, send a little message, and you’re one step closer to achieving it. I know there’s no right or wrong way to use Instagram, but use it right, and it could change your life.