It was a sold-out show at the Granada Theater in Dallas on a Sunday night. The masterful progressive bluegrass guys the Punch Brothers were playing. As the crowd filled out, the flashes and flickers of smartphones across the audience began to emanate.
At first, my reaction was to not take photos. I saw no point in recreating the same image I just saw at least 30 people capture and share. Wondering just how similar the posts would be, I searched Instagram for photos tagged at the Granada.
The posts were actually wonderfully varied. People in the audience shared the same moment, and yet their photos were different and individualistic.
The power of Instagram isn't that it makes us laypeople great photographers. But if you follow the right people, Instagram is like a small art show in the palm of your hand. Your friends' lives are the canvases and their smartphones (and abundance of photo editing apps) are the brushes.
You'll see what I mean if you follow @instadfw on Instagram. The account scours the photo-sharing app for posts from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and highlights great captures. If you have a post you want them to consider, just tag it @instadfw or #instadfw.
More proof that Instagram lets us realize a bit more of the creative side of our friends is the hashtag #treecultokc. A search for that tag brings up 1,087 different photos of a small tree in Oklahoma City that has captured local Instagrammers' hearts.
And of course, this time of year in DFW, you'd be remiss not to peek in on a digital scrapbook from the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (@fwssr), or search for #stockshow or #fwssr hashtags. You'll find a bevy of boots, bulls, even tigers, an elephant and artful shots of Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
Even if Instagram isn't as popular as Twitter or Facebook, and it's not for everyone, it can be a form of entertainment for your followers and a different form of expression for you. You may not have the voice to get on the stage at the Granada, but you can bring your own creative viewpoint to social networking.