Instagram mainstream at US political conventions


The biggest media events in four years take place this week in the US with the Republican Party convention in Tampa, Florida, followed by the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, next week.

In the year when a new American president will be elected – or the current one continues for a second term – these political gatherings take on huge significance and, hence, attract huge media presences (along with some withering commentary about such presences).

Wherever you are in the world, expect to be saturated with reporting, opinion and commentary across all media, mainstream and social.

As we saw at the 2012 Olympic Games in London a few weeks ago, it’s an opportunity for great innovation, imagination and experimentation with digital communication for global-scale public events, where the evolution of new digital tools and channels, how they’re used and by whom constantly moves forward, breaking down barriers of what people think they’re used for and who uses them.

Take this example of what the Associated Press plans for using Instagram, the erstwhile hip photo app for the iPhone and now Android – acquired by Facebook and heading towards 100 million users including many businesses – that clearly has crossed the divide into the mainstream today:

The AP’s staff photographers covering the upcoming political conventions in Tampa and Charlotte will not just be shooting for the wire service with their high-end DSLR cameras, they will shoot separate stories using iPhones and uploading the images via Instagram.

The opportunity to share on Instagram will allow the journalists to produce different, “candid” images says Shazna Nessa, Deputy Managing Editor for Editorial Products and Innovations.  The photos created with the Instagram app will appear as a multimedia page on the AP and on the pages of the wire service’s customers and members.

See more details on what the AP has planned for sharing its content “across all media platforms via a wide array of digital tools and innovations” in the coming weeks.

If you want to see those pics, follow the hashtag #associatedpress on Instagram, and keep an eye on the AP’s website. Instagram itself is only for your mobile device so now would be a good moment to set up one of the many web-based third-party services that enable you to view and interact with photos and their takers.

There are plenty of services to choose from; my favourite is Statigram, a web viewer for Instagram that offers useful tools like analytics and detailed information about your pics, plus a variety of methods for easy sharing. You can follow Instagram users like me without joining the service yourself. You can also create a montage of your Instagram photos for your Facebook timeline. And if you subscribe to your own photos via RSS, you’ll have copies in full size.

One other I like is Followgram, a service that speaks for itself.

Good services, plenty of choice.

[Later:] Take a look at what the Wall Street Journal is doing with WorldStream, a hub for mobile video shot via smartphone by the WSJ’s 2000 journalists around the world. The platform launched yesterday in conjunction with the Republican convention. Mashable reports:

[…] Every video posted to the page undergoes editorial review. Nothing that appears will be over a minute in length, reinforcing the focus on quick snippets of video and audio information shot while on the go. San Francisco-based video-sharing startup Tout powers the processing and publishing of clips on the back end. The videos will also be incorporated into other content.

WSJ WorldStream is the newest piece of WSJ Live, the media company’s video initiative which has launched four shows over the past year.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.


    […] Instagram mainstream at US political conventions The biggest media events in four years take place this week in the US with the Republican Party convention in Tampa, Florida, followed by the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, … […]

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