If you are reading this blog post, you are aware that the Guild maintains an internet presence, and you have some familiarity with computers and their ability to keep like minded people connected. Not all of us, though, are very adept in the world of social media and how it can be used to keep us connected. At Guild School this year, Darren Scala and Kate Ünver, who keep the Guild moving forward in the social media universe, started to make use of Instagram to broaden IGMA’s presence, and this past week, the Show Committee also started to use Instagram for additional publicity for the Guild Show.
What is Instagram? Instagram is an online mobile photo and video sharing, and social networking site. It can be accessed by anyone with a computer at www.instagram.com, but you can only post from a mobile device with internet capabilities, I post from my iPad.
When you go to the Instagram site, you can search in two ways, for a particular account (a person or group that is posting in that account), or for a category of photos and videos. Type into the search bar what you are interested in, using a name or keyword and a list will come up; if there is a ‘hashtag‘, that’s what this symbol ‘#’ is referred to, that means that entry on the list is a category of photos, if there is no hashtag, or if there is a photo in front of the entry, that is an account name. If you click on an account name, (one without a hashtag), you will go to that account and see photos that that person or group has posted. If you click on the entry with the hashtag, that is an archive of photos that people have thought that category applies to.
In order to get them seen by the largest number of viewers, photos are usually given many hashtags. For example, someone might post a photo of a miniature table, that photo can be placed in the category ‘miniatures’, but it could just as well be posted under #miniature, #dollhouseminiature, #tiny, #miniaturefurniture, #woodenminiature, #handcarved, and so on. The person posting content must try to think of possible search terms that could be used to describe his photo and enter them as hashtags on his or her posting. And you, as a viewer, can also use many different keywords to find images you might be interested in. Only the account names are proprietary, by which I mean, if you search IGMA you will see that #igma comes up as a category list of photos with over 5,000 posts, but if you click on it, you will see a lot of photos that have nothing to do with the IGMA we know and love! Evidently, many people have a different idea as to what those four letters mean.
For now, searching Guild of Miniature Artisans, IGMA Guild School and Guild Show, will get you to accounts that are purely Guild related photos — that’s if you click on the account listings, not the hashtag listings. If you click on #guildshow, #guildofminiatureartisans, or #igmaguildschool, you will find many show, fine miniatures, and school photos, but also occasional photos posted there that have nothing to do with ‘our’ IGMA because hashtags are just categories and anyone can put any hashtag they want on their photos.
So, ready to leap into the world of Instagram? Have fun exploring the photos already posted, or establish your own account and start posting your own photos. If you have school or show photos you’d like to add to those already posted, just add the appropriate hashtag (#) to your photos and they will come up whenever anyone searches that category.