Instagram is so alluring, people rarely pay attention to what they’re actually posting, causing them to commit goofs there and on other social media outlets, such as Facebook.
What exactly is Instagram? It’s a unit of Facebook founded by Kevin Systrom that provides a way of sharing photos with friends on a social network platform.
The company has also just announced a new feature to their service: the option to send photos to a select group of contacts or to a single individual. The feature became available for smartphones with the Android and iOS updates.
So what is Instagram bringing to the social networking table, dominated by, well, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Nothing except the ability to use filters on photos before sending them. The announcement of Instagram Direct service, made at a Manhattan event, drew a rather tepid response. It would seem that Instagram is yet another outlet to join other social media as a venue to goof on.
Many have lost jobs because of content posted to social media and the occupations range from celebrities to politicians. A teacher in Georgia was asked to resign or face suspension over photos posted to Facebook showing her drinking alcohol and an update that used an expletive. In 2009, the Kansas City Chiefs obliged some 32,000 fans and released running back Larry Johnson from his contract for tweeting a gay slur about a fan, as well as denigrating the coach. An employee of a media agency that handles the Chrysler Twitter account was fired because he accidentally tweeted from the wrong account using the “F-word.”
On a darker note, a father learned about the death of his daughter via Instagram. A friend had posted the daughter’s photo with the caption “RIP.” Frantic, the father discovered that the mother’s boyfriend had brutally beaten the toddler, causing massive internal injuries from which she later died. A woman in Michigan Instagrammed a photo of herself dressed as a Boston Marathon victim for Halloween, enraging thousands on Twitter who expressed their disgust. The woman even incurred death threats.
As if the government wasn’t invasive enough, what with its spies prowling online games looking for terrorists, people have to make trouble for themselves by presenting “too much info,” as the saying goes. Case in point: a man posted a picture of himself on Instagram holding two pistols with a lot of cash in the background. He was already in some trouble with the law; however, that trouble was increased by a factor of 142 because that picture happened to catch the attention of a sheriff’s deputy prowling the net looking for things to investigate. In another case in Pennsylvania, a police chief got himself suspended after posting pictures of himself holding guns.
Although Instagram and other social media goofs range from the whimsical to those with serious repercussions, all is not darkness and gloom. Justin Bieber’s Instagrammed photo taken with Will Smith garnered 1.5 million likes, beating out such notable Instagram users as Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Swift.
Instagram may be a magnet for social media goofs, but it is also another way for people to connect with one another, competing in an arena dominated by Facebook and Twitter, who already provide similar services.
Editorial by Lee Birdine