Instagram is a divisive social network. Since the introduction of ‘Sponsored posts’, serving only to clog up your feed with advertisers clammering to reach an audience that has already left them behind, and the recent revelations from 19 year old Essena O’Neill, that the world portrayed, by so called ‘influencer’ accounts are often fake, people have been struggling to keep up with what this means for the ever expanding network.

The other side of the coin is the often lauded use from Instagram themselves that their network is about the community above all else. Using the hashtag #communityfirst whenever possible, whilst actively encouraging their users to organise offline meetups. ( WWIM )

Ups and downs. 🔼🔽 #porto #skrwt #VSCOcam

A photo posted by Mike (@butterhalfsix) on

  For me, Instagram, much like any community, will always be divisive. Some will enjoy the community aspect of the network and feel part of something bigger than themselves, whilst other will try to use the network for their own ends. Promoting products, worrying about growth and, well.. misunderstanding what a social network is truly supposed to be. I’ve used Instagram for both, but understand the difference between the personal and the professional.  When I first discovered it, it made me realise that the world of photography I so enjoyed, has suddenly become a lot more accessible, and there was a whole host of like minded people I could interact with and explore with.  

Armed with nothing more than a my smartphone I began to photograph my surroundings and search unique and interesting areas from my travels. The community of Instagram served to spur me on with likes and feedback and pushed me to take better photos.  Its also led to meeting some amazing people around the world, from photographers, artists, illustrators and designers.

Shapes and sky. #WHPfuturistic   A photo posted by Mike (@butterhalfsix) on

What I found was there truly is a great sense of community on Instagram, one where with just the act of sharing a simple photograph you get to see a small snapshot of their life,  a filtered and beautifully shot version, obviously, but life never the less. So, come along and follow me on Instagram if you like, and join in with the community. #communityfirst  

Sea Sticks. #barcelona #VSCOcam

A photo posted by Mike (@butterhalfsix) on