I’ve never considered myself a creative person. I can’t draw, I can’t paint, I really can’t act and I’ve never been particularly drawn to the visual arts. Yet more and more, I find myself looking at the world through a new lens, both literally and metaphorically. I find myself seeking unique perspectives, unusual angles and unexpected images. I find myself searching for points of interest in ordinary, everyday objects, seeing beauty in the things I have always ignored. Lately, I find the way I am approaching the world changing because of a simple photo-based social network called Instagram.
For those who have never used it, Instagram is a photo-based iphone app where you take pictures and apply vintage filters to create a more interesting end result. You have an array of filters to chose from (15 at the moment) that give an impressive range of looks to every shot you take (yet somehow, there always seems to be the right filter for the right picture). They’ve also just added an easy-to-use tilt-shift feature that adds impressive depth and perspective to your image. Once you style your pic, you can add a quick caption and blast it off to Instagram and several of the more popular social media sites and micro-blogging platforms like Tumblr and Posterous.
Now, those who know me will attest, I am prone to hyperbole. That said, in the case of the title of this post, I think I just may be serious about the impact that Instagram is having on me. Clearly, I have some serious passion for my social networks. Facebook has gone a long way towards expanding my network and has helped me to nurture relationships I would have traditionally let lapse. Twitter has forced me to chose my words more carefully and blogging has gone a long way towards adding structure to my critical thinking. However, all of these have sites have simply provided tools to improve upon aspects of myself of which I was already aware. Instagram, on the other hand, is tapping into a creative yen that I did not know I possessed.
This probably sounds silly, that a social network centered around snapping pictures and applying filters to them would have such an impact, but I am starting to see the effects rippling through my everyday life. The desire to look for the unusual in the ordinary is beginning to permeate more and more of my thinking. There is a willingness to consider ideas that traditionally would have been way too out of the box for me. The act of looking at the things in a different way is leading me think about things in a different way as well.
Sure, some who are smarter than I am will say that Instagram is only creating an illusion of creativity, but if that illusion is leading to a more creative me, then so be it. I’m certainly no professional photographer, but the ease with which you can create an impressive result is leading me to get a lot bolder in my creative efforts. I am sure that many of you are thinking that you would prefer dental surgery to another social network, but if you haven’t already, you just might want to give Instagram a look. It is an interesting app and I’ve already found a great group of users sharing their own perspective on the ordinary. Like any good social network, Instagram is fun, easy to use and a little addicting. However, the thing that has surprised me the most is how this crazy little app is having a real impact on the way I approach the world.
Have you given Instagram a shot? Let me know in the comments below!