People either seem to love or hate Instagram. But apart from taking selfies, adding hashtags and filtering (as in digital not physical) your favourite coffee, it can also be used to connect people and places in exciting new ways. One account in particular allows give you new insights into a city's daily life - all from another person's perspective.
Brain child of Matilda Swan, cc:syd is a Sydney-based Instagram account that is 'owned' by different users each day. Speaking with Trending City, Swan explained, "I started cc:syd to see how technology, which is so powerful at connecting people around the world, could be used to connect people in our own backyard, or in this case - our own city... cc:syd allows users to share the places they know and love so well across Sydney." What a brilliant idea.
Since the account was launched, users have not only shared their favourite places in Sydney but have also connected in ways they couldn't have in the past. "My favourite part of setting up cc:syd has been watching previous
participants connecting with each other, sharing information about a
local spot, finding out about a new event or even recipe swapping! " says Swan.
Additionally, because of cc:syd's simple formula, it could be used a platform for other cities and could even become "a real life meet up for everyone who has been involved", says Swan.
Matilda is not alone in her ambition or drive to connect people through instagram. NYCbaton founded by John de Guzman, is a similar account based in NYC and while not instagram based the Swedish twitter account is a success story that allows different people from different backgrounds to tell the world what makes modern Sweden so special, and all in one day. While Swan's intent was to connect people, surely a by-product of this process is collaborative grass-roots city marketing.
So what is the future of instagramming cities? Visual mapping of instagram pictures, taken over time, is already producing some interesting insights. This method compares city region and analyses images based on intensity and type of social and cultural activity of the city. Another, very cool way of seeing the world through the Instagram filter, is a summary of Instagram in Australia brought to us by Datafication.
So, if you've been reluctant to give Instagram a try, for whatever reason, just remember - it's not all about selfies. Put simply, it's a platform that allows you to share images with the world, whatever they may be. For that reason, the possibilities are endless. As people are becoming bored of looking at what their friends are eating each day (I know I am!), we're seeing fantastic new ideas take the platform into exciting new directions.
If you live in Sydney, be sure to check out cc:syd. It may inspire you to travel to a suburb across town, or simply pop into a cafe that you pass on your way to work. Sydney's an exiting place - you never know who, or what, you may find.