Every social network has its share of spammers, but one type of fake account seems to be working particularly well on Instagram: airline accounts offering free flights. Roger Cheng of CNET writes,
The accounts have been pretty effective at garnering followers. Delta’s fake account already has 21,000 followers after it promised a free trip for the first 20,000 people who followed and shared the account. Likewise, the JetBlue account has 20,000 followers. The American Airlines profile has 5,963 followers after it promised a free round-trip flight to the first 5,000 followers. The accounts themselves are fairly bare aside from a few pictures and the offer itself. But there are no rules listed for the promotion, or means of contacting the airlines to collect on the free flight.
Airlines have begun disavowing the accounts, and Instagram has already removed a number of them (including a couple of the ones mentioned by Cheng). It seems like Instagram needs to launch a “verified user” system like the one Twitter implemented a few years ago.
Beware: Fake airline Instagram accounts promise free flights [CNET]
It’s no secret that Twitter was interested in acquiring Instagram before Facebook swooped in and snatched it up. Now, instead of running the popular photo-sharing app, Twitter is waging war against it. Twitter cut off Instagram’s API access for the app’s “Find Your Friends” feature a few months ago, but that was just the beginning. The next major bombshell announcement is coming soon: photo filters.
Yesterday we shared a piece by photographer Kenneth Jarecke on why Instagram isn’t fit for photojournalism. Now, from the other side of the aisle, Jeff Bercovici of Forbes writes that Time had great success after hiring five Instagrammers to document Hurricane Sandy:
The resulting collection on Lightbox, Time’s photography blog, was “one of the most popular galleries we’ve ever done,” says [Time DP Kira] Pollack, and it was responsible for 13% of all the site’s traffic during a week when Time.com had its fourth-biggest day ever. Time’s Instagram account attracted 12,000 new followers during a 48-hour period.
One of Benjamin Lowy’s photos even ended up getting selected for the cover, although it’s one of three covers Time is running this week [...] While the level of resolution isn’t perhaps what might be achieved with a camera, says Pollack, “It reproduced beautifully. There’s almost a painterly quality to it.”
Pollack tells FolioMag that the decision to use Instagram was based on distribution speed rather than aesthetics.
Why Time Magazine Used Instagram To Cover Hurricane Sandy [Forbes]
P.S. It seems that by “Instagram photo”, Forbes and Time are referring to the fact that they were shared through, not captured with, Instagram.
Photojournalist Kenneth Jarecke wrote up a thought-provoking piece yesterday titled, “Instagram, the Devil, and You.” He offers his thoughts on the question, “Will ‘Instagram photojournalism’ stand the test of time?”:
As for you Instagramers, twenty years from now you’ll be sorry. You’ll be more sorry than I am when I look back on a picture I made twenty years ago with a 20mm lens when I should have used a 28mm. Years from now, you’ll awake in the middle of the night and suddenly realize putting a fake border on a picture makes the whole picture fake. You’ll understand that the technical choices you made destroyed the longterm credibility of both you and your images.
Instead of having a body of work to look back on, you’ll have a sad little collection of noisy digital files that were disposable when you made them, instantly forgotten by your followers (after they gave you a thumbs up), and now totally worthless. You’ll wish you’d have made those images on a Pentax K1000 and Tri-X (at the very least or most depending on your age and perspective), but the times you failed to record properly will be long gone. But don’t listen to me, listen to all your Insta-friends. They love you.
Instagram, the Devil, and You [Mostly True via The Click]
Image credit: Part of an art project involving tiny pics of my art — using #instagram as one part of the medium. by kimboburly
Portrait is a new 20-minute documentary film by Columbus, Ohio-based filmmaker Andy Newman that explores the question, “In the age of Instagram, what sets a professional photographer apart?” Newman compares the lives and work of two people who are both crazy about photography, but who have chosen very different careers and mediums.
The role Twitter played during Arab Spring in early 2011 gave the microblogging service a huge boost in legitimacy and pushed it into the mainstream. Instagram may be having a similar “coming of age” experience through its role in the ongoing coverage of Hurricane Sandy.
Remember the remote Instagram printer called Instaprint? Although the Kickstarter fundraising campaign for the product raised nearly a quarter of a million bucks from 800+ backers, it failed to reach its goal of $500K, and we haven’t heard much about the device since then. If you can’t wait to print Instagram photos remotely using a simple hashtag, James Croft over at MacTalk has a tutorial on how you can build your own:
Using a Mac, with a combination of web services & apps, we can breathe life back into [a cheap Bluetooth] printer, and turn it into a hashtag-based Instagram printer! In other words, any time there’s a new photo with a certain hashtag in Instagram, this will find it, download it, crop & resize it, then print it out. All completely automagically.
You’ll need a Bluetooth printer, accounts on IFTTT/Instagram/Dropbox, Hazel, and Photoshop (the last two are optional). While Croft’s tutorial is for Mac users, developer Lee Martin is working on a universal web app that’ll work across platforms.
Hacking Together an Automatic Instagram Printer [MacTalk]
Thanks for the tip, Phil!
Check out this geeky Instagram-inspired Halloween costume created by photographer Eric Micotto. What’s neat is that it actually “works” as a camera: it’s powered by a Nikon D800 snapping photos through the “lens”, and has an iPad on the back that acts as the camera’s giant LCD screen. Subjects who have their photo taken by the costume can run around to the back to take a peek at how it turned out.
Last year, we wrote about Poladarium, a tear-off calendar that inspires you with a new Polaroid picture every day. Now, for roughly the same price, you can create one that features your own photographs. Instagram printing company Printstagram has launched a new calendar product that allows you to turn your Instagram photo stream into a beautiful stack of 365 8.5x7cm “Polaroid” pictures.
It’s seems like many photo enthusiasts are hating on Instagram and retro-filtered photos these days, but not photographer Richard Koci Hernandez. He has written a piece for CNN titled “Photographers, embrace Instagram,” in which he explains why he thinks that “Smartphones have ushered in a golden age for photography.”