I became intrigued with Instagram about 6 weeks ago. Here I could take a picture with my iPod Touch (4G) or pull it in from my Photos library, crop and tweak it, upload it, and share it with thousands! Not sure why this hooked me more than Flickr, maybe it was the structure of its "social graph." Simple and fun, the way social software should be.
Intagram is kind of a reverse Twitter, you post your image, then your comments if you have any. It is totally visually oriented. People can "like" the image, post their own comments, and can follow (subscribe to) others. No groups or privacy, everything is open. You can hashtag an image and moderate comments on your own posts. You can flag inappropriate images (no porn), and the developers have a down-home twitter feed here.
Having been to many conventions where presenters talked about using social software such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc. to enhance teaching and learning, I'm waiting for the first presentation on how Instagraph was used!
If you are interested, here are some sources to get you started, aside from actually using the app, for which there is no substitute.
Teaching with Instagram (very minimal, but one of the few references I have seen)
Webstagram web viewer, link to popular tags
Using Instagram in Android, info on other web viewers and API
Searching in Google is naturally a way to go deeper.
A New Genre of Art?One thing one soon notices is that many photographs in Instagram are heavily edited. There is an entire growing cottage industry of iOS apps that allow you to apply various filters to process images on its mobile devices. This begs the question of what kind of art is this? Below are some examples...
Clever manipulation of processes in one app, then exporting, importing into another editing app for more processing, etc.. makes the activity a lot less "canned" and creatively challenging. It's often impossible to determine which app or combination of apps was used to create heavily edited images. These apps take processing to a much deeper and more powerful level than available in current desktop tools like Photoshop. It's the digital equivalent of using a number of hand tools, paints, shellacks, and surfacing compounds to create physical objects.
The images are meant to be viewed on the iPod's or iPhone's small screens, so I consider them the "miniatures" of the digital imaging world. If you have an iOS device, have some fun with