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Instagram Now a Player in Social Discovery
By: Jake Watt
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With Thursday's launch of Instagram 3.0, the photo-sharing platform of over 80 million has created a simple, and amazingly useful, way in which to experience the world. Photo Map, as Instagram calls it, plots each filtered still life based on the location in which it was captured.
While this concept is nothing new, Instagram's buyer Facebook has been doing this for a while. The Palo Alto giant's problem is mobile. The user experience in viewing photos on Facebook's app leaves much to be desired in functionality and appearance.
Photo Map means that the mobile exclusive Instagram becomes incredibly conducive to social discovery. In place of searching through ubiquitous hashtags of locations, their airport abbreviation, or landmarks, we can now explore the intimate and personal favorites of our network and the great cafes and speakeasy-style bars they seem to frequent.
What makes Photo Map amazing is its simplicity in solving the problem of travelling to new places without much in the way of cues or plans in an easily understood way. As stated earlier, this isn't anything new. However, by tapping into its ever-expanding, multi-device user base Instagram allows for a completely visual, unencumbered exploration.
I have never been to Los Angeles or Boulder; however, I tweet regularly with folks who share their experiences from these locales. Uncovering a city's lively and hidden recesses to the evident beauty of its geographic wilderness, be it urban jungle or mountain peak, Instagram now aids us in discovering a location's authentic self though the lens of a friend.
Need a local’s view of Portland, Miami, or Pittsburgh? Check out my Instagram feed here.

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About the Author
Jake Watt is the Digital Strategist at The brpr Group. A recent graduate with honors from the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, Jake’s deep appreciation for creativity built upon a concrete business foundation creates this millennial’s dynamic presence in the digital world. Jake may be a dreamer, but studies have shown he is not the only one. Find him on Twitter here.
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