Author: Collin Smith, Digital Project Manager
There’s no doubt that social media has changed the way we live today. Social media platforms are used in a variety of ways, from making and sustaining new relationships, to building business models that rely on social platforms, to learning and perfecting new skills. Instagram, in particular, has played a key role in the growth of social media platforms. With its ability to bring like-minded people together, Instagram has become a hub of creative community and inspiration.
What Is Instagram?
Instagram is a content-sharing application that allows users to post images and videos to their profile and “tag” other users or the location of the photo/video. It’s one of the largest social media platforms with more than 400 million users.
One of the unique features of Instagram is that it can help create more opportunities for exposure and income for aspiring photographers. Many photographers can be paid by businesses to take and post pictures of products on their profile, allowing companies to gain exposure to the photographers’ followers. Other professionals post wedding or graduation photos to try to attract more clients.
Instagram is also a great platform to build communities of like-minded people. Many photographers, animators, and other creative individuals can connect through “Instagram Meetups.”
One of the ways many Instagram enthusiasts build community with each other is to participate in Instagram Meetups, a gathering of people who get together and take pictures of local landmarks, historical sites, or any random location. Participants of Instagram Meetups vary from professional photographers with thousands of followers to amateurs just starting out with a camera phone. One of the best parts of an Instagram Meetup is that it gives the opportunity to meet people of different skill levels and to learn techniques from each other.
South Bend, Indiana: A Case Study
While attending Bethel College near South Bend, Indiana, I participated in several Instagram Meetups around the area. Our first official meetup was with a professional photographer who used Instagram as a source of income by taking pictures for companies and individual clients. We met with the influencer in Chicago, Illinois, as he walked us around the city to show us some great places to shoot.
Next, we did a meetup in our own city of South Bend. We got together with students from Notre Dame and local photographers to network and create art together. We even partnered with local businesses to help give them publicity. We photographed a local resale shop to help give it more awareness in the community. Having nearly 20 people take pictures, post them to Instagram, and tag their location every time has the potential to reach several thousand people (based on how many followers each person has). We ended our tour of the city with a trip to a local restaurant. Every stop on the meetup was very intentional to either spread awareness of local businesses or to showcase the natural beauty of the city itself.
Instagram Meetups are a great way to inspire creativity throughout the community, give back to local businesses, and meet like-minded people in the area. Since I left Indiana in 2016, the Instagram community in South Bend has grown from a couple of college kids and their professor to around 50 people with varying educations, careers, and interests. Instagram has brought together artists of all kinds in a way that would not be possible without it.
Instagram Meetups have become more and more popular over the years and across the world. Thanks to Instagram, creative communities are being brought together with people young and old and with all different skill types. This allows amateurs to learn from more experienced professionals and gives the more skilled photographers a chance to pass on their tips and tricks. If you’re looking for a creative community of which to be a part, there is no better place to start than Instagram. Find out if there is an upcoming Instagram Meetup near you!