Blog 4: What is social media?

What is Instagram and how to use it on reporting?

Instagram is a social networking service owned by Facebook. As of February 2019, 67% of adults aged from 18 to 29 in the U.S. used Instagram, according to Statista. Moreover, “43% of female adults used Instagram compared to only 31% of adult men.”

There are two main ways of posts on Instagram, posts and stories. Stories are ephemeral, which will disappear in 24 hours. A new function, Reels, has been created to compete with TikTok, an incredibly popular short video platform. Other functions include IGTV and Instagram Live.

As journalists, if we want to get people engaged, we have to make sure that we can produce the most attractive videos, photos and infographics. Some apps and websites can be helpful for us to achieve this goal.

The first tool I want to recommend is Canva, which can help you design posts and covers for social media. I always use it to create infographics.

Another tool recommended by an experienced journalist, Diogo Rodriguez, is Lumen 5. “It helps you create social media videos very easily from text or your own audio,” he said in a statement. “Its artificial intelligence creates new frames automatically, speeding up the process.” Therefore, anyone who has little or no design experience can use it to produce good videos.

Besides tools, we should also make good use of Instagram’s specific functions. For instance, Instagram Live is one of the most critical functions for journalists. Many national news outlets always use this function to interact with people in real-time. The number of Lives increased substantially during COVID-19, a web editor Tshepo Tshabalala said. There are so many tips that we can use to get people engaged by using the Live function. I will specify them next week.

Meanwhile, stories are also one of the essential functions to attract people. We have to make good use of story highlights. What I did in my professional account is to save my best works into story highlights so that every visitor can find them easily.

To recap, Instagram is one of the most popular platforms among young people. To attract their attention, we have to use tools to make our multimedia elements interesting and clear. Also, it is an excellent place to promote our works. Therefore, please make sure to make fair use of every function to get more people engaged.

Sources I use as reference in the blog:

  1. Percentage of U.S. adults who use Instagram as of February 2019, by age group
  2. How journalists can use Instagram to engage and inform
  3. Maximise Instagram for journalism

Published by Lgao

NBC News Asia Desk Fellow Reporter

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