How to Speak Instagram


The Instagram community has its very own vocabulary which can be kind of confusing and often times downright weird. I thought I'd put together some definitions that pop up in the Instagram world. [This is taken from chapter 12 of my eBook - Instagram: the Nuts & Bolts, which you can check out here.]

Boomerang: Boomerang is an App developed by Instagram to showcase action moments which play forward and then in reverse in a video format.

Camera Roll: This is where your photos are stored on your mobile phone. It is also known as your library.

Clickable Link: This is a URL that is active, and can be followed to another website, blog post or online content. The only clickable link in your or other’s accounts appears in your profile, underneath your profile pic.

Direct Message (DM): This is a private message you can send to a user.

Feed: Your collection of uploaded photos and videos that populate your Instagram account.

Filter: Filters digitally modify your images by adjusting the colour, contrast, warmth, saturation, adding a vignette etc. One of Instagram's key features is the selection of filters you can add to your image. Among these are filters like ‘Rise’, ‘Mayfair’, ‘Crema’, ‘Slumber’ and so on.

Follow: In Instagram ‘speak’ when you follow someone you choose to subscribe to their feed so that when they post an image it shows up on your home tab. You might say, “Hey, I just followed @chrisburkard, what a legend!”

Followers: As an Instagram user, you probably want to grow your own group of followers, that is other users who choose to subscribe to your feed. “I’ve noticed a spike in my followers after I posted those VW images.”

Followings: The people I follow. “I’ve tried to reduce my followings because I just get overwhelmed by a number of photos that show up on my home feed.”

Follow for Follow: a practice where users request you to follow them in exchange for you following them. This will show up as a comment, sometimes with a hashtag: “#followforfollow”

Front-Facing Camera: The second camera on your mobile phone which takes a photo facing toward you. Really helpful for selfies.

Geotag: Instagram allows you to add your location to your photo, which later shows up in a map. The geotag is also known as the ‘add location’ feature. Another way to use this feature is to customise it and use it instead to highlight a URL, include a song you’re listening to, or some other info you want to stand out.

Golden Hour: an hour either side of sunrise and sunset when the light is gentle and magical. Supposedly the best time to take photos. Also a useful hashtag - #goldenhour

‘Graming: The act of taking photos for Instagram. ‘I’ve been so busy, I haven’t done a lot of ‘graming lately.’

Handle: Your username on Instagram. Sometimes people introduce themselves in real life by their handle rather than their name. “Hi, I’m @_bearista.”

Hashtag: Symbolised by the ‘pound’ sign or ‘#’. A way of organising meta-data within an information system. Labels that enable the same type of information to be grouped together.

Iconosquare: A helpful web-based platform dedicated to Instagram statistics.

IG: An abbreviation of “Instagram”

Igers: From ‘IG’. The community of Instagramers who meet up in real life, in cities around the world at something called an Instameet, or an Instawalk.

Instameet: When Instagramers meet up in real life to take photos at various locations. They’ll often use a specific hashtag dedicated to that Instawalk which is somehow related to the date, time, or place.

Instawalk: Pretty much the same as an instameet.

Latergram: When you post a picture to Instagram that you took a while back. You might use the following caption: ‘#latergram from that time we took a road-trip through South Africa.’

Like: The basic currency of Instagram.

Lux: A sort of combination between contrast and intensity, use the lux slider to make your images pop. Symbolised by the half sunshine icon in the camera section of the app.

Native Camera: The default camera on your mobile phone. There are additional cameras you can download which have different functions to your native camera

Post (noun): An image or video uploaded to a user’s feed. “Did you see @robinmay’s latest post?

Post (Verb): To upload an image or video to your feed. “I’ve been posting so little lately, I just haven’t had the time.”

Repost: When you take a screenshot of someone else’s image and post it to your own feed. This is known as a repost. A common technique used by brands and companies running contests. A way of making an image go ‘viral.’

Selfie-Stick: A stick which attaches to your camera and gives you some distance to take a selfie which includes more background. Alternatively, a dangerous weapon banned at many amusement parks.

Suggested User: A user who espouses Instagram’s values of creativity and community and is placed on a revolving list of about 200 at a time - Instagram encourages new and existing users to follow these people.  Suggested users normally see an increase in their followings.

Tag: To embed a username in an image. “I’ll tag you in this picture.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: Every weekend Instagram HQ announces a themed project and accompanying hashtag for the weekend, encouraging users to participate and interact with other’s images and videos. Only original content from that weekend qualifies for the #WHP. Some examples are #WHPmakebelieve #WHPmiddleoftheroad #WHPsayhellotothewater

What weird terms have you come across within the Instagram community?