So far, this territory has been left to photographers. Since the app’s release in 2010, photojournalists have been using it to great effect, showcasing unpublished images, digging into their archives, sharing ongoing creative projects. Writers, though, have largely stayed away from Instagram as a storytelling platform. There are plenty of reasons for this—it’s not easy, after all, to write short.
But those who wade in will find that storytelling on Instagram is an awesome hack: a purpose for which the thing wasn’t intended, but at which it excels. The app is vibrant, flexible, and unusually transcendent. In mobile terms, it’s immediately more democratic than filter-heavy Facebook, less terse than Twitter, less ephemeral than Snapchat. And, most important to me, is the platform’s reach: Instagram provides a creative space where voices and views that might otherwise be ignored, lost, or mangled during their brush with journalism can be shared, beautifully, with almost anyone.Neil Shea
A contributor to National Geographic Magazine and other publications, Neil Shea recounts how he discovered Instagram as the perfect medium to share stories from his journalistic projects, small glimpses into the lives of the people he meets that would otherwise get lost in the final, more formal piece. It’s one of the fascinating ways people are using the Facebook-owned app and its flexibility helps make it more and more popular. Although I’m not entirely convinced many people actually read the stories accompanying photos, this experience is a valid reason for viewing Instagram as a future platform for news, but I think it will develop as complementary to traditional news stories rather than replacing them.