It is Twitter, from five years ago. A social network that people use on a regular basis, but without restriction. Nobody is going to tell you that only taking pictures of trees is doing it wrong, no one cares if never post, there are no rules.

Instagram has gone from a place to improve the look of your crummy, amateur photos to a social network that provides a quick, creative outlet with no character limit and instant feedback. You don’t have to toil away for hours before sharing with the world. Anywhere you are, you can share what you see and how it inspires you. It’s an exercise in putting yourself out there.

A successful community rarely has to do with the brand or product it is based around. I argue the most important indicator is how the community has changed the lives of its users. The second most important indicator of success is how the community adds to its intended purpose and makes it their own.

This is why I’m so in love with Instagram. I don’t just add filters to photos. I share my life. I share what I love, what inspires me and what I think will inspire others. I get all of that back and more. I noticed a while back that Jason Hargrove was writing long story captions to his photos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a picture with words worth? I’ve dubbed these photos + stories Instastories.

These Instastories are a delight to read and pure entertainment. In the back of my marketing mind, I can’t help but think Hargrove has hit a gold mine. He has created mini-artist statements about each photo and stumbled into a great way of marketing himself. A platform to share his creativity, but also to show it off and standout from the crowd.

I asked him he why and he replied with an Instastory of my very own (flutter!):

46093440-image

“Chirp chirp!” his phone whistles, suddenly atwitter. He’d like to reply with something interesting, perhaps noble; you know, a statement for the ages: “I do it for the social conversation; to be involved, to interact. The truth is I want to share my inspiration.” But that would be a work of fiction. “It’s entertainment,” he confides in her. “Most often mine, more than anybody else’s.” He jots it down, he presses send. “Chirp chirp!” her phone whistles, suddenly atwitter. – Jason Hargrove

Before long, I noticed others starting to do this as well. James Whatley was posting photos that could easily be mistaken for stills from science fiction movies and writing stories to go along with them. A mini-glimpse into a possible future, right in my Instagram feed. A quick read to inspire looking for the future in the things all around us. He says he was inspired by¬†Philip K Dick and Warren Ellis to “see the world differently.”

I’ve been on the lookout for more people using Instagram to post Instastories, but really, maybe I should be trying it out myself. Would you write a story to post alongside a photo on Instagram? If you do, please let me know so I can give you a follow.