Introduction to Social Media: Instagram

Instagram is an online mobile photo and video sharing social network.  Launched in October, 2010, by December, 2014 Instagram had over 300 million active users! Originally created for the IOS (iPhone and iPad) user, in 2012 Instagram launched their Instagram for Android app, making IG available to pretty much everyone. Unlike Pinterest, 51% of Instagram users are male and 56.4% of users are aged 14-17.  In fact, 51% of the high school class of 2014 reported using Instagram daily and 23% of U.S. teens consider Instagram their most important social media network. 

So, you may ask, what does Instagram have to offer us as quilters?

Instagram feed photo
Lots and lots of eye candy!  An immediate look at what is trendy and fun in the quilting world.  Pictures of my grandchildren (yes, that's often how my family connects!)  And, of course, a way to connect with our friends on social media.  The most interesting thing about IG - and at the same time, its greatest drawback - is that Instagram takes place in real time.  You see what is happening amongst those you follow as it happens.  But, on the other hand, it is easy to miss good information and photos or videos you might like to see. And text capability on IG is very limited, so some of the interactions are superficial at best.

IG Login page

Starting out on Instagram is easy.  Simply create an account using a unique user name and password or log in using your Facebook account.

IG profile page

Once you log in, be sure to set up your profile.  There is a place for a picture and a brief description.  You will want to add your email address and maybe even your phone number for password and login help (email and phone numbers are hidden from your followers and used to reset passwords, etc.)  You might even link other web addresses, such as your blog or your etsy shop, to your IG profile.

IG options page
Once you are in, you might want to visit the settings page to set things up just the way you want them.  Note that if you decide to have a private account, only people you invite can see your posts.

IG search icon is the magnifying glass - this is the people search

Use the magnifying glass icon to search for people you know.  You can search by user name if you know it...

IG search screen - this is the subject/hashtag search

Or by hashtag.  Search for or tag people using the "@" symbol.  Search for things using the "#" (hashtag) symbol. Remember that you can only search for things if you know how they are labeled. You will certainly want to search #ecmqg often.

IG Camera icon - bottom of home screen

Once you have your account set up, post your first photo.  Choose the camera icon in the center of the bottom of your home screen.  I strongly recommend that you use hashtags for your photos.  For some reason, photos without hashtags tend to attract spam and unwanted followers.  If that happens, you can tap on the person's user name and block them.  If the content is unacceptable, you can report the post to have it removed.

IG picture upload screen
 Now upload your first photo.  Instagram links directly with your photo album on your phone for instant access.  Choose the photo you want to use...

Note the word NEXT in the upper right corner.
Choose the back arrow on the left if you want to start over.  When you're ready, tap NEXT in the upper right corner...

Instagram photo tools screen
Instagram provides a number of built-in filters for you to use and a handy tool icon for cropping, straightening or other tweaks to your photo. (Note that there are also a number of free and low-cost third party apps such as Pic-Tap-Go, LiPiX, VSCOcam and Snapseed that you can use to enhance your photos right on your phone.)  Once your photo is just the way you want it, tap NEXT again.

Instagram Photo caption screen
Finally, add your caption.  You can use the @ symbol if you want to mention other IG users in your caption or TAG them if you want to see your picture.  Here is where you can simultaneously post your photo on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.  Now tap SHARE to upload your photo.

Instagram profile page

The person icon on the right is your personal profile screen.  You can see your profile, picture, and all the photos you've uploaded here.  The photos are loaded newest first, so just scroll down to see your older photos. 

IG Activity page
You can see any activity related to you and the photos you have posted by clicking on the heart icon at the bottom of the screen.  Notice at the bottom of the screen that I have a new follower.  If I want to follow her also, I can just tap the +1 icon and she will be added to my following page.

IG home screen with Inbox icon
One newer feature of Instagram that helps you connect with others is the Inbox icon located at the top of the screen on your home page.   If you tap the inbox icon, you can send a direct private message to another IG user.   Really handy for sending a quick message and photo to someone.  The information that you have a message shows up on your activity page.

Like other social media, IG has its benefits and its drawbacks, but it is a great way to see what is going on in the quilting world, and with other topics you might be interested in.  Check it out!


  1. I loved reading your post. It is really well done. I love following you and seeing the grandkids. I see me up there too. You caught my mosaic for the HR swap. I hope to see you all Saturday.

  2. What a wonderful post! Such a great way to encourage MQGers to be part of Instagram. Well done!


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