Instagram and Photo a Day Explained

July 16, 2014

Technology evolves so quickly these days, and it can be difficult to keep up. Consider this; in 2002, the first camera phone had a 0.3 megapixel capacity and had to be connected to a computer in order to view images. Nowadays, we take it for granted that we can effortlessly snap pictures with an 8 megapixel camera and view them in high resolution or send them on to family and friends all over the world in an instant. Truly amazing!

To take advantage of this technology, in 2010, two Stanford graduates had an idea to develop a mobile photo-sharing platform that brought together the Kodak style Instant-Photo and the ability to send information over the wire to others like a telegram – Instagram was born.

Instagram is an online mobile photo sharing and social networking platform available for Apple, Android and Windows devices. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio typically used by mobile device cameras. Its calling card is the photo filter; a digital layer that, when added to a standard photo, gives it the appearance of professional editing. Some filters enhance the colors in a photo, while others dull the light to a soft glow for an aged, vintage appearance.

Shortly after its inception, the app exploded in popularity and experienced exponential growth within a short amount of time before eventually being bought by Facebook for around $1 billion. Now with over 100 million registered users worldwide, Instagram is the largest photo sharing program in the world.

To connect and share, Instagram, like most other social networking platforms, uses hashtags to link groups of photos. A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign (“#”). Words in comments or descriptions within Instagram may be tagged by putting “#” before them, either as they appear in a sentence or appended to it.

Hashtags make it possible to group such words or phrases, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of photos that contain it. A hashtag is only connected to a specific medium and therefore cannot be linked to pictures or messages from different platforms, i.e. Twitter or Facebook.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Aviation is an amazing visual experience! The average person may never get the chance in their lifetime to experience what is seen through a pilot’s eye each day; the wonder of the natural world and the amazement of modern flight. Instagram allows pilots worldwide to take the amazing things that they see and show that to the world. For the first time, people everywhere are witnessing the wonders that aviators have longed to share. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

Through Student Pilot Journey, I’m attempting to let people in on what really occurs on this journey. The no holds barred, honest story of aviation. As it comes together, Instagram is the perfect collaboration tool to fill in the visual gap. Instagram allows anyone interested to see where the journey starts and where it ends.

To give the process of sharing photos through Instagram a fun appeal, I’ve created an aviation specific photo a day challenge. The concept of the photo a day challenge itself isn’t new; in fact it’s enjoyed by millions around the world. The difference with my challenge is that it brings together a community of individuals with similar interests, goals, careers or aspirations. The idea is that, each month, I release a set of ‘word prompts’, where each numbered prompt represents a day of the month. The ‘word prompt’ is used as inspiration for your photo that day. Let’s say the prompt is ‘blue’, you would look around your world on that day and take a photo pertaining to the word blue. Whilst we all know ‘blue’ has a literal meaning, it can also describe emotion or weather, for instance. It is this ambiguity or greyness that creates a wondrous array of creativity from once mundane accounts.

These photos are shared with the community using a single hashtag “SPJphotoaday” (#spjphotoaday). Participants or interested parties are encouraged to like and comment on photos and follow other participants within the challenge.

‘So how do I get involved’, I hear you ask? Simple!

  1. Register for a free Instagram account by downloading the app available for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
  2. Follow @studentpilotjourney for prompt list, top 4 and updates
  3. Take photos with your phone camera and add them to Instagram
  4. Edit them using the filters for a professional look
  5. Add the SPJPhotoaday Hashtag i.e. #spjphotoaday
  6. Check out all the other great photos by searching #spjphotoaday
  7. Like, follow and comment on others photos



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