I’ve never owned a (stand alone) camera in my life. But I’ve been using smartphones that come with decent cameras, for sometime now. It’s amazing how smartphone cameras have evolved over the years. Back in the days “having a camera” on the phone was considered a luxury, even if it was a VGA camera. And then the megapixel wars started. A mid range smartphone these days will have at least a 5 Megapixel camera, while we’ve seen some some flagship models boasting up to 41 MP ones. While the megapixel and UltraPixel wars continue on one side, one cannot deny the fact that this revolution also has contributed to new ways of social networking through photo sharing apps and services. And Instagram does not require any introduction in 2013.
Started off as a photo sharing app on iPhone (iOS devices), it is now available on Android, Windows Phone and as a web based social network. I love Instagram (and for the record, I don’t share food pics). It’s about filters and “no filters”; and hashtags. There has been this age old debate as to whether Instagram is good for photography or not. Regardless of what people think, the growth and popularity of the service has never slowed down. Instagram is not limited for smartphone cameras either. There are a large number of professional photographers whose instagraphs are captured with Digital SLR cameras.
Instagram is hugely popular among Sri Lankans. Even TweetupSL had an award category for Instagrammers this time. Few days before TweetupSL, Halik, one of my favorite Sri Lankan Instagrammers, tweeted this:
— abdulkhaleq (@HalikAzeez) November 27, 2013
He was talking about an InstaMeet. Few days later I met him during TweetupSL and he mentioned about having a InstaMeet in Slave Island area and documenting the places and happenings there. The idea was simple. It had no cost involved. Above all it was about meeting people (cool kids?), which is fun. You carry your camera (again, not necessarily smartphone) and do what you are good at – Instagram! And thus, the InstaMeetSL idea was born.
So what are InstaMeets?
InstaMeets are a way for Instagram users to meet the fellow Instagrammers in their locality, offline (i.e in real life). Well, it is basically like having a Tweetup for Instagrammers. Instagrammers can take this opportunity to build real connections, discuss about photography (or should I term it as Instagraphy?) and discuss how they share common love for filters (*cough*). To quote Instagram, participants can “discuss your favorite filters, exchange tips, or just take photos together!”
There are many Instagram communities around the world. http://www.meetup.com/instagram/ lists all (1700+) of them. Everyone is welcome to join the “Colombo Instagram Community” meetup page here: http://www.meetup.com/Instagram/Colombo/ This meetup page will be monitored by Instagram staff too, and events will get featured in their blog etc. An InstaMeetSL Facebook group has also been set up.
(And, interestingly InstaMeets are not new to Sri Lanka. The “Kolamba Instagram Community” page has details of few meetups that were planned in 2012.)
Soon after InstaMeet Colombo announcement by Halik, we have seen announcements about InstaMeetGalle by Kasun. (Following is a confession) For someone who has never been to Galle (hides face in shame), I think these kind of meetups will give an opportunity to explore beautiful places.
At the time of writing we have more than 60 members in the InstaMeetSL Facebook group. If you’re an Instagrammer and not in the group, do feel free to join. The first edition of the meetup, InstaMeetCMB (InstaMeet Colombo) has been planned to be held on the 16th December (Monday) from 4 pm onwards at the Maradana Railway Station. Interested people can RSVP to the event here that the Facebook event page and the Meetup Community Page.
Sri Lanka has a rich Railway history. Stations in and around Colombo offer so much for the keen eyes. There are things that have never changed over the years and things that may be gone very soon. Hence, the selection of Maradana sure is interesting. To quote the event description, “Sri Lanka’s first Instameet, we will brave the elements and explore the ruinous remains said to conceal all manner of juicy photo ops North of Maradana Station, the station itself is quite happening.”
Instagram and hashtag have an interesting love and hate story. We’ll discuss that in a later post. For now, the hashtags for the event will be #InstaMeet #InstaMeetSL and #InstaMeetCMB. Participants are encouraged to use all three hashtags in their posts along with any other hashtag of their choice. If you can’t make it to the meetup, you can follow the above hashtags in Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
I can’t wait to take part in the event and meet fellow Instagrammers. What about you?