Instagram launched in October 2010. Monday past (14 May 2012) marked my first year with the app! That makes me a Grandad in Instagram years surely? User 3,911,665 to be exact… and I was reminded of this that I wrote 5 or 6 weeks into using it last June…

What I’m doing here is list a bunch of the apps and websites that have rounded out the Instagram experience over the last year. I think what I love most about the Instagram is that, having had a camera since I was about 7 years old I have always taken a combination of snaps (family), arty stuff (college) and then a whole bunch of images in-between that most people would have no interest in (why are you taking a picture of that?)… but I would end up hoarding. Instagram has given me an outlet for these pictures – a worldwide community of people who are doing something very similar to share them with.

The whole Instagram ‘start-up’ story is also very inspiring in terms of taking an idea to completion and beyond. Part of why I wrote about Instagram last year was to share this: (a now well documented story now but if you’re new and catching up then  it’s a good read straight from the horses mouth). Who knew that within a year of that there would be ten times the users and it’d be worth 1Billion to Facebook!?

When Facebook bought Instagram many users closed their accounts on ‘principal’! That’s just daft. So far Facebook has no impact on the service. That might change, but til then..!
My response to the buy-out visualised below and written about here: Before – After

Instagram also inspired one of my social media ‘game based’ ideas that I’ve tried out a couple of times called Beginning/Middle/Endyou can read about it here. Essentially players share a story in three acts, each represented by a single image via Instagram. Submissions ranged from documentary to traditional storytelling and down right abstract… It needs some work but there is something there I think…

So, to the other apps that I’ve stumbled across over the past year…

I always feel a bit of an Instagram fraud because I use iPad (I don’t have an iPhone) so images are not always as spontaneous as I would like. However, what I ‘do’ love about the iPad is it’s capacity for photo editing (I can edit so much quicker than can on my MacBookPro) and partly that’s down to a great little app called Snapseed. Well worth the purchase and reviewed by me here.

I’m going to cover two apps in one here – TinyPlanets is a genius idea of taking a regular pic and wrapping it into what appears to be a, er… Tiny Planet! I need say no more, just download and give it a go. Below is a compilation of three of my TinyPlanets brought together using Nostalgio, a frame app that allows you to bring together multiple images from your pic library using one of twenty templates.

If you like to keep up-to-date with what’s going on with you Instagram network online via a web browser then Statigram is perfect, not to mention the statistics, which can get a bit anal, but the fun thing is how they visualise the stats (see the top image in this post) and email you Instagram ready images of them to share… so you get to see and share who you’ve been liking the most via Instagram itself.

If you like playing with the Mac Photobooth (Android equivalents also available) app on then you’ll probably get some milage out of FaceGoo HD. Take a pic of your nearest and dearest and then disfigure them in the most horrifying of ways by pinching and dragging the the screen. Lovely.

Day one of my Instagram year two brought with it my invitation from Instacanvas. This is the company that turns your Instagram pics into wall hangings or anything else that’ll absorb ink! My gallery opens today and for a small fortune you can buy my lo-resolution art…
I’m still not sure about this one. I know the iPhone has a better camera than the iPad but the images that go to Instagram are compressed in size… are they really that good a quality to print at 500mm square?

There are of course countless other apps that you can use from grungy filters (Pixlromatic), Cartoony effects (ToonPaint) to Fisheye lenses and HDR. If you use Flickr then there is even a piece of software (Dopiaza) to gather your Instagram pics into a folder which I then use to feed into my blog. So, given that you’ve got this far either share you favourites with me or go and get into this glorious whorl of pictures and share your results. A few weeks ago I would have argued that Instagram alone would justify the purchase of an iPad or iPhone, but then they put it on Android too..!

It’s not all cats, dogs and memes… I follow Mountain bikers in spain, someone who lives vary near to the foot of Mount Fuji, I get the best views from some of the worlds finest cities and often share the same sunset as it circumvents the globe. Some of my own Instagram pictures are my best pictures. They are the simple things that ordinarily I might have missed or simply forgotten in their ‘ordinariness’ – I love searching back through those images… I urge you to try it out and some of these other apps, then come follow me and ‘like’ all my pics! ;)

UPDATE: In the interest of balance here’s how to spot an Instagram Junkie!

The beginning…

Today is unusual. The next anniversary of today will be in 2016. Any babies born today will have the weird experience of not having a real ‘first’ birthday until they are four years old… by the time they are ‘two’ they’ll know there is something a bit special (or lame) about their birth date!

Some people will wake up today right in the middle of something… It’s the middle of the week for all of us, but others will be in the middle of decorations, renovations, negotiations…

My wife is several hundred miles away this morning at a family funeral, painfully aware of the end of a story that started more than 70 years ago but one that had a significant impact on her own.

Instagram is a great app for capturing elements of these stories. In the developers own words, the original idea was a Swiss Army Knife of an app that tried to do lots of things. As time went on it got simplified and ended up as the photo sharing app that we know, love and obsess about! It a way it celebrates the every day mundanity of life but at the same time allows us to share the everyday beauty that is so often taken for granted.

Last year, on the first BMEday, (#BMEday on Instagram for images) there were all sorts of stories shared. BMEs of cooking preparations, a DIY electrical job, an evening get-to-gether, as well as disjointed snap shots of various story threads from throughout the day. Plus we had high-concept ideas of colours and objects relating to Beginning, Middle and End.

BMEday2 is about all and none of these stories. How you choose to interpret the challenge is entirely up to you. I don’t expect a series of conclusions by midnight tonight (and of course that’s midnight wherever you are…). Stories begin and end on a moment to moment basis. A phone begins and ends within a few moments and is it’s own story, but consequently a whole new opportunity may have arisen and another story begins.

If you take part in BMEday2 today then don’t restrict yourself in any way. Your three images may be the beginning, middle and end of three completely separate stories… you may even be capturing stories you observe, the stories of others… it’s really up to you to challenge the brief as much or as little as you like.

Best case scenario (if you’ll pardon the pun) is that on the anniversary of BMEday2, four years from now, this collection of three images will equally as significant to you as thy were today. A memory of the day, of what you were doing and thinking. Maybe it’ll remind you to review a whole other bunch of images that we’ll never get to see, the memories that are kept private. (It’s great to share, but some things are for you and those closest to you.)

Enjoy Leap Year day 2012 and I hope you’re able to capture it in someway with BMEday2!

BMEday 2

The challenge is to document your day in three images using Instagram.
Publish your images with the title ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’, respectively.
Most importantly (so that I can find them all), hashtag your images with #BMEday2.

Watch the story unfold on Instagram, Twitter or on my blog via the magic of Storify.
We won’t see the 29 February again until 2016 so commemorate it with #BMEday2!

Meantime, please let as many people know as possible using Instagram and Twitter and make BMEday bigger and better than last year! Feel free to pinch the image above and post via Instagram.

For more info visit my BMEday page (projects/games/tool > truely social >) where you’ll also find a link to info on the previous BMEdy 2011.

Happy New Year..!

Slightly late start to the New Year perhaps but there has been a lot going on!

Just about a year ago I started blogging on MysteryBoxes. That blog primarily led you through the research and processes of my Masters Degree (@DJCAD) from which I graduated in November.  This site has taken the key projects and information from that blog and presents it (hopefully) in a more legible structure.

MysteryBoxes will remain live but will not be update anymore – this is the place to be.

So, have a look around and look out for projects rolling out over the next couple of weeks including a the return of BMEDay, a QR Code history trail project that I’m designing with a group of Primary School children and the latest information on the Dighty Burn!

Can’t wait to get you up-to-date! :)