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From Instagram to NCIS: Los Angeles

If you read my previous post about Instagram, you know I’m a convert. It’s a fun app. It offers good value for no money – particularly after the latest update. Now it has also crossed into ‘traditional’ media – television to be more precise. But first, the update.

The latest incarnation of Instagram offers several enhancements, most notably the ability to create tilt-shift images. Overnight, just like that, a relatively new and until recently niche technique has gone mainstream. Obviously there’s no comparison between a real tilt-shift lens and a digitally applied effect, but it’s now out there for everybody to use and abuse. Watch it become the next HDR.

Another enhancement is the revamped news feed. You can now see who your friends follow, what images they like and left comments on. Through that I’ve already discovered a few great pictures I would have not seen otherwise – and users I would have not noticed. Separately, you can now see what happens with your profile and images – who follows you and what they like.

What I think Instagram is missing is the ability to revisit the images you liked. I often ‘like’ or bookmark images I find inspiring or original to look at them in more detail later. Instagram doesn’t offer such functionality. And because you can’t go back go what you liked a few days ago, everything feels temporary and disposable.

Now, the TV bit. For an app which is just over six months old to strike a big deal with a major TV network must be huge.

A few days ago Instagram and CBS, the producer of NCIS: Los Angeles, announced their “Flaunt Your City” campaign. It’s a mutual promotion. Instagram users can access behind-the-scenes images taken on the set of NCIS: Los Angeles, but their own images can become part of the series too. Users are encouraged to take images of unique or iconic places in their cities and share them via Instagram using the hashtag #NCISLA. One photo will be chosen by the cast and producers and the winning entry will be featured in the season finale on May 17.

That’s a massive publicity win for Instagram. At this rate, it’s likely to quickly expand its existing base of 2m+ users, who collectively upload over 290K images a day.

Good luck to Burbn, the makes or Instagram and good luck to whoever takes the winning image. Hope it’s not tilt-shift.

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