10 interesting factors that shaped Instagram as a social media platform

Interesting Instagram Stories

We bring you a list of 10 interesting stories about Instagram that played an important role in shaping it into the platform millions use today.

Instagram started off as a very different platform from what it has evolved into over the last few years. Becoming a part of Facebook was a major factor that determined the way it has shaped as a social media platform. There are various interesting stories associated with Instagram, here are some we feel you should read.

Back to the roots with Holga

During his junior year, Kevin Systrom had taken a year to study abroad in Florence. There, he was introduced to a plastic camera called Holga. Using this camera to take pictures would result in square images with blurry corners and vintage aesthetics. This was something that remained in his mind, eventually coming back to him as he was creating Instagram.

Was once called Burbn

A fan of whiskey, Kevin Systrom had initially built a platform called Burbn. It was meant for users to check-in at various locations, make plans and earn points for hanging out with friends. Sharing pictures of these trips was an add-on. However, this was the feature that interested people the most, nudging Systrom to tweak the app accordingly. Thus, Instagram came into existence as a photo-sharing app in October 2010.

Instant + Telegram

Since Co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were working on revamping Burbn as a photo-sharing app, the name didn’t make much sense. The name Scotch, which was used for the prototype, didn’t seem one that would resonate with potential users. Eventually, they decided to go with Instagram, a portmanteau of instant camera and telegram.

Drunken troubleshooting

In the early days of Instagram, once Mike Krieger had woken up to an email of how the site had been down at the night and was later fixed. He had asked around within the team as well as checked the terminal, only to realise that it was he who had fixed the issue at 3:30 in the morning. He had no memory of the feat as he was drunk at the time.

The Dorsey connection

Kevin Systrom and Jack Dorsey knew each other since Systrom’s internship at podcasting company Odeo. Even as he progressed in his career at different companies, he kept in touch with Dorsey. In fact, Dorsey was one of the first persons to invest in Instagram, about $25,000. He also played a significant role in getting people to try Instagram, helping it reach 25,000 people within the first 24 hours.

Also Read: Decade Samosa: How Instagram got us clicking

Creating the first filter

A decade ago Systrom’s now-wife had given him the idea of creating a filter as the quality of pictures clicked on smartphones wasn’t good back then. Her suggestion for Instagram to have in-built filters in the app had made Systrom come up with the feature. Created in the hotel lounge, the filter was called X-Pro II.

Every filter has a story

A lot of thought is put into naming each filter on Instagram. In the initial days, most of the names held a personal story for either Systrom or Krieger. Some were random associations. For example, Brandon was the name of the street where Instagram headquarters was located in San Francisco. This was before the company became a part of Facebook.

All the world’s a square

For quite a few years, Instagram used to allow only square images on the platform. Given how it used to hamper creativity, the option to upload horizontal and vertical images was added in 2015. However, the restriction had had such an impact that iOS 7 was introduced with an option to click square images directly from the camera. Arguably, back then, they had taught people to look at the world in squares.

Videos go viral at launch

In June 2013, when Instagram started allowing users to share videos on the platform, 5 million videos were uploaded within the first 24 hours of the feature’s launch. Users could shoot and share up to 15 seconds of video. They also had the option to add effects and filters, along with the option to stabilise the video during the upload process.

Acquisition and burger

After the deal with Facebook was signed, it took a while for Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger to fully process the implication of the action. The days preceding the sale had been pretty stressful and so after the decision was finalised, Krieger had gone home and asked his wife to accompany him to his favourite burger place in San Francisco. It was the most normal thing he could do at the time, he recalled at an event.

Know of an interesting Instagram story you would like to share with us? Do tell us in the comments or write to us at [email protected]!