Bookmark This: Insta-Journalism

Instagram is no longer just a platform for sharing images, but now a news and information platform.

Although our textbook only outlines four major social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+), Instagram is increasingly taking over the social media world. According to Digital Minds, “Social media is positioning itself at the core of digital marketing,” and Instagram is now changing the way journalists write stories. Ella Riley-Adams explains how Wired is innovating the way we use Instagram by posting long form stories exclusively available on the social platform. These types of stories include a photograph that sets the scene, and then a small excerpt from the story as the caption. Wired published their story about “a man who teaches rural Mississippians about the value of being online” in a series of 11 posts. Wired knew this post worked when they received a comment saying, “I read it all and probably wouldn’t have otherwise” (@jenpioneerpress).

So, what made this “Instagram journalism” successful? The story doesn’t have to be read all at once.

Whether you are a college student, constantly running between classes, work and coffee dates, or a professional working behind a desk, we all have something in common. We are busy. We don’t have time to sit around and read human interest pieces all day or even hard news. We take in all our information in tidbits, or as Joe Brown, editor of, stated, “We are all so distracted and we’re chunking up our lives into digestible bits, what’s cool about Instagram is that it gave us these visual bookmarks.” These “visual bookmarks” are exactly what we need in order to remember where we left off on a story and remember to go back and read the rest.

Our busy lifestyles may prevent us from reading long stories, but it definitely doesn’t stop us from mindlessly scrolling Instagram. Next time you need something to quickly read, to make it look like you’re busy, try one of Wired’s stories, or another account that publishes long form captions. If you need suggestions, try Humans of New York or Virginia Quarterly Review.


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