When Instagram announced earlier this month that it was going to offer web profiles -- a way to view and share Instagram photos online -- it felt great.
It also felt like 2005.
Yes, Instagram is late to the game, especially for a social media platform that's so popular. Not that there was anything terrible about doing everything on a smartphone -- Instagram's apps are pretty nicely designed and easy to use -- but not being able to send someone a link to your gallery was maddening.
But now all of that has changed. If you are an Instagram user and you haven't checked out your profile, you really should. Your address is instagram.com/username (replace username with your actual username, or you'll pull your hair out). You might notice a slight resemblance to your Facebook Timeline, but you'll also notice that the photos fade in and out. It's actually quite beautiful.
So now that you have a web profile, what does that mean? Allow me to shed some light.
Your Instagram photos are actually easy to find.
What you'll see at your web profile is minimal and functional. You'll see each photo wrapped in a thin white border that expands to offer additional information when you hover your mouse over it. That's when you'll see the number of likes and comments. Click on either for a closer look and to leave feedback.
You can like a photo and comment on a photo without going to the app or another site.
There were ways to do it before. But it's much more convenient to direct someone to instagram.com than another site. You can also follow other users and edit your profile.
You don't have to use Instagram to look at Instagram photos.
I don't know many people who don't use it, but window-shopping is allowed. Maybe a bit creepy, but allowed.
If your photos are set to private, they'll still be private.
This was a big question the week the web profiles went live. Some people choose to have an Instagram account but only allow certain people to follow them. In this case, your photos are visible only to the users you've granted access -- they'll need to be logged in to see them.
You still can't upload photos from the web.
Web profiles are awesome, but the thing that makes Instagram amazing is that it's mobile. There's nothing that says you can't take a photo with a camera, email it to your phone and upload it. But you can't use your web profile as a way to add photos -- you still need to use your smartphone for that. Believe me, that's not a bad thing.
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