Below is a blog post that our founder, Zach Glassman, wrote for Instagram a couple of weeks ago. A shorter version of the article is available on the Instagram blog.
I began using Instagram because it allowed me to instantaneously share my travels with my friends and family. Constantly on the move, I didn’t always have time to edit photos from my SLR and post them online. I knew Instagram would offer convenience, but I had no idea it would stretch far beyond this. By the end of my round-the-world trip, I had discovered a mass of photography enthusiasts, as well as many lasting friendships.
As my trip began, the collaborative spirit within Instagram became apparent. It was as though friends, family and followers were traveling with me: questions, comments, and personal travel stories came flooding in. These interactions made my own experience that much richer. My adventure continued, and although there were times when I was on my own, I was never really alone. Instagrammers were contacting me from places as far away as China, Italy, Spain, Morocco and Sub-Saharan Africa. New opportunities for friendship presented themselves in the form of meals, photo walks and hikes. I learned the beauty of discovering new places by sharing them with other people.
Naturally, many of my favorite memories and scariest moments also involved Instagram. One of these was when my mother came to meet me in Portugal. In Lisbon, I showed her how to use the app and how I was interacting with other users. She was my companion on photo walks and I had her pose in countless places—whether she was a willing muse or not! When I edited photos, she became my creative advisor. She also joined me for an afternoon walk and dinner with one of my followers after he had interviewed me on one of the largest radio stations in Portugal.
While in Africa, I met up with another follower who showed me around Livingstone, Zambia and who joined my friends and me in an adventure where we were nearly washed over Victoria Falls (no, seriously, it was pretty scary up there!). I could provide countless other examples, but one moment that sticks out most in my mind was when I reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and snapped a photo in the middle of a snowstorm and -20˚C weather. Words cannot describe the onslaught of emotions when I reached that point.
A few months later, I returned to New York City. I found that the tactics for getting to know a new city were equally effective in a city that had once been my home. And so, when I found myself on a group photo walk in Brooklyn with @pketron, a close friend who had introduced me to the app one year earlier, my journey had come full circle. These photo walks, these friendships, and this app have become a huge part of my life. Whether at home or abroad, Instagram is so much more than a handy photo-sharing tool. It is a way of life.