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Instagram: It’s all about the visual in 2012

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Instagram was massive in 2011. In its first year of launching, the mobile app had 10 million users, all addicted to documenting life in retro and lomo inspired snapshots.


2012 is set to see the trend for aesthetic social sharing gaining momentum even further; The Trend think tank Trendwatching predicts that “In 2012, ‘life’ will take place via ever more pervasive, personal, immersive and interactive screens”, so why would we not want to continue sharing life visually and engage on an aesthetic level all the more when our so-called “screen life” takes up more of our time?

So what’s the deal with instagram? Immediately adopted by fashionistas and cool hunters inspired by street style, instagram allows us to update a timeline of visual reports to followers. As the app comes inbuilt with filters and settings to make our camera shots look melancholy and retro, the immediacy of visual gratification is a real winner. It’s another platform for social media interaction that allows our daily lives to be documented in a rose-tinted way, and as our social conversations become more and more important, an accompanying illustration of chic and instantly cool imagery is nothing but a bonus.

The first ever instagram exhibition was held in London in September 2011, paving the way for similar projects to follow. Lovers of the app have gathered together more and more for instagram walks, meet ups and a shared communal interest of iPhonography made cool with lomo effects and social interaction.

Where Hipstamatic started us getting all 70’s polaroid inpsired, instagram lets us share socially, a crucial development in its success. In an article ‘The Ugly Truth: Why Beauty Wins in 2012’, Edward Aten, founder of,  says that ‘Instagram makes our pictures less accurate, but what we lose in exactness we gain in the ability to create instant nostalgia and show our view of our subjects,’ but social media agency Rabbit disagree. Rabbit’s “Take on 2012 in social” predicts that “2012 could represent a return to reality. As our feeds become saturated with doctored images, we predict a backlash that will see users yearn for an unaltered view of the world around us – this will not just affect image services, but video and live reporting and writing using services like  Storify.

Whichever way the pendulum swings, being aware of the way we consume aesthetics as brands will be crucial this year as the way in which we can develop our obsession with instagram and, no doubt, apps to come. Offline products from companies like Blurb who offer a coffee table book printed media of instagram pics can take the cool factor to a new tangible level.  Instaprint is a hirable device for parties and gatherings allowing instagram prints to be printed like Polaroids whenever an image is taken and labelled with a designated hashtag, taking the online social element to the offline.

Presentation of ourselves online is more essential now than ever, as we live and present ourselve online for social, business and pleasure. The projection of a perceived self has been the holy grail since the MySpace era and shows no sign of abating.

Brands are using instagram in various ways, and news companies are beginning to be aware of the platform for news reach. ““It’s probably just a matter of time before we get an iconic, newsworthy photo via Instagram, in the same way that Twitter and TwitPic have generated a number of newsworthy user photos, like Janis Krums’s famous photo of the U.S. Airways plane in the Hudson River,” says Andy Carvin of NPR (National Public Radio), a news organisation breaking ground on the social media platform.

Undeniably one to watch.

Have you seen brands use instagram in an innovative way? How do you think the aesthetic will develop this year? If you want to make the most of your brand’s visual appeal, then brief the Exchange now!

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