There are no ads cluttering the screen. There's no potpourri of features such as "checking in" to a place where you just arrived.
You take a photo, you post it and you see other people's photos.
There's something magical about that simplicity.
I enjoyed the shots, even altered ones, from a friend's trip to Lebanon. The photos of people's meals made me forget my need to lose weight. Occasionally, I'd find shots of people — a self-portrait, a child, a spouse on the couch with a dog. It's fun to peer into what your friends find interesting, even as they peer into what you stumble upon in your everyday life.
There's also an unexpected benefit to the photos' square dimensions. I initially thought I'd be compromising my shots by cropping them to make them fit. But those square photos come to life on Facebook in a way rectangular shots don't.
That's because the photos take up the full space that Facebook allows for displays. Horizontal shots only take advantage of the full width and vertical shots the full height. Square photos come out bigger on Facebook by expanding in both directions.
One more thing to note is that Instagram lives on the phone. You can't browse or add photos from its website. For that, you'd need to link it to Facebook or another social network.
I know many Instagram veterans are grumbling about latecomers like me crashing their party.
But life isn't as fun if we live in silos. I find pleasure in the serendipity made possible by having a diverse circle of people to follow.
Hey look, someone posted bottles of English ales on Instagram.
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