5 Days of Social Media {Instagram}

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Here we are on the final day of the 5 Days of Blogging Blog Hop, sponsored by the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I’ve had a great time sharing my ideas about Social Media:
Today, I’m going to tell you about a fun way to share photos with an app called Instagram. Instagram is “a fun & quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo, then choose a filter to transform the look and feel of the shot into a memory to keep around forever”.
Instagram is a free photo sharing app available in iOs (iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone) and Google Play. I’m not gonna spend a lot of time explaining to you the mechanics of how to download and use Instagram. I’ll just link you here for that. Then we can just move forward with the fun parts! 
There are many things cool about Instagram, but the coolest thing is the choice of filters you can quickly and easily use to change the appearance of your photos. There are 18 different filters from which to choose. Below are a few examples of my favorites.
This is an original, unfiltered photo of Ben, taken with my iPad. Nothing special about it. Well, except for the absolutely adorable child posing for me, of course. Keep scrolling to see the same picture, using several of the available filters Instagram has to offer. 
This filter is called X-pro II. This filter is warm, with blue and green tones. It will make your beach photos look really cool. 
This filter is called Lo-fi. I adore the way it intensifies color. This filter looks great for photos of food!
This filter is called Brannan. I really like this filter. Especially for faces. I think it’s cool the way everything around Ben is kind of washed out, but his face shines through the fogginess. Very cool. 
This filter is called 1977.  I have an entire box of photos from my childhood that look just like this. I got my first camera in about 1977! I absolutely love this filter for the memories it brings back for me! I actually used this filter for another shot this same day. You probably can’t tell, but this photo was taken when the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile came to town. 1977 was perfect for these photos. Take a peak at the next one, to see what I mean. 
I can’t even express in words how much I love this photo! Doesn’t it look like it was taken in 1977, rather than 2012? Love love love it!!
Ok, so I think we’ve established that Instagram is a fun tool. But how does that translate into a social media application? Because it does. Or it can, anyway. Many brands are jumping on the Instagram as marketing bandwagon. For example, Saks Fifth Avenue recently ran a contest with Instagram, asking patrons to visit a store and take a picture of the item they couldn’t live without for spring. Using Twitter and the hashtag #SeeUAtSaks, three contestants won $1000 shopping sprees at the store. Pretty cool marketing tool, huh? 
It’s absolutely fine to just enjoy playing with your photos, but just in case you want to, here are some suggestions of ways you can use Instagram for social media purposes, though none of these are nearly as exciting as a $1000 shopping spree at Saks!

1. Instant Sharing

Your 11 year old just did the funniest thing and you just know all of your Facebook friends and family will want to share the moment with you! If you run to your room to grab your camera, you’ll miss the moment. Not to mention, it may sit on your SD card for days before you remember to upload it. But your iPhone is handy in your pocket. So you whip it out, snap the picture and immediately share it. Perfection. 

2. Blog Promotion

Do you have an upcoming curriculum review or maybe you just took a field trip you plan to blog about? You can tease your followers with a quick photo, including your blog address and a couple of hashtags, if you’re tweeting it. And you should tweet it!  There are even some blog carnivals out there devoted to sharing mobile photos. Check out InstaFriday, for example. 

3. Favorite Homeschool Stuff

Chances are pretty good that you’re not going to take out your Canon DSLR and shoot pictures of all your curriculum. But if you’re in the midst of using a favorite product and want to quickly share how much you like it, you can easily grab your iPod Touch, take a quick Instagram photo and share in on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. 

4. Event Sharing

You’re attending an event you want to tell others about, in the hopes they will attend as well. You can just mention it on Facebook or Twitter. Or you can take a picture of something enticing while you’re there and share that!

5. Getting News Out

It could be any kind of news. The birth of a new baby, a traffic accident, bad weather on the horizon. But you know it’s something you want to share right away. Instagram makes that super easy!
Here are a  few examples of pictures I’ve taken and used for social media purposes, either for Facebook, my personal blog or for work with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Just to give you a few examples of what I’m talking about. 
I shared this photo earlier this week while writing my blog post for Day 2 of this series. It gave a sneak peak into what was coming the next morning. 
I used this photo to give a hint above an upcoming review for the Homeschool Crew (keep watching, this review is coming in the next few days; we loved this product!). 
I shared this photo of Governor Mike Huckabee, when Ben I had the opportunity to hear him speak recently at the MidWest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati. It served 2 purposes — as a nice reminder of the moment, and also as a way to promote both the convention and Gov. Huckabee’s new History video series, Learn Our History.
This photo was also taken at the Cincinnati convention and I used it to share with folks that TOS was there and they should stop by our booth to sign up for a free membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com!
A couple of nights ago, we had a lovely spring rain. No thunder and lightning or wind. Just a welcome, sweet shower. Ben loves playing in the rain and ran out onto the deck. There would not have been time to grab my nice camera, but my iPod Touch was sitting on the table next to me. It was a moment I shared on Facebook.
I took this picture with my iPad as I was leaving church one evening a couple of weeks ago. There was a terrible storm coming, and while I certainly could have used this photo to alert folks to the fact, I really just took it because the storm clouds were amazing hanging behind the steeple. I didn’t even use a filter on this one. I just left it as is. 
I hope you’ve had a good time this week, learning more about social media, and how you can use it to share your homeschool, blog, and daily lives with friends and family. I’ve had a blast sharing with you!
And now, for the last time, get hopping back to the Homeschool Crew blog to read the last day’s posts on your other favorite blogs. Just click on the banner below to get there.

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  • Gena Mayo

    I’m brand new to Instagram. Thanks for the tips–now to use it!