09 October 2015

Genealogy Social Networking Day 9 - Instagram


Instagram is not a place you would normally think of for family history. But, with millions of users, there are certainly ways to use it. Instagram is definitely for genealogists.

First that comes to mind is Throwback Thursday (#TBT) or Flashback Friday (#FBF). People post old photos instead of new ones. Some people post photos from just a couple years ago, but others post ones from grandparents photo albums or older. People post old photos of places they've been or their family is from. They post photos from their genealogy!

There are museums on Instagram, as well as the US National Archives, FamilySearch and other similar websites, and genealogy societies. Everyone seems to have at least some presence on Instagram these days. Along with a photo, they can post information or post a picture of a flyer. Some places post a schedule of events at their website or facility, post photos from a conference, or information on a hashtag they use to connect for a specific purpose.

And of course, it's an interesting way to document your own personal history. There are several companies that will print your Instagram photos directly from the site, no extra uploading (some that include your captions and the comments with it). Unlike twitter, you can use more than 140 characters to describe your photos. You can tell a story. You can also use hashtags to connect with others on the same topic, tag a location, or tag people (who will receive a notification that you tagged them). You can also choose to have your Instagram public or private. If you choose private, others must request to see your feed, so only those you want seeing your photos will be able to see them.

You can follow friends and family, as well as other genealogists or the National Archives I talked about. You can search hashtags (like #genealogy), or use them to connect with different groups. For example, the US National Archives uses #AskAnArchivist. So you can post a photo, ask a question in the description and tag them with their handle @usnatarchives and the hashtag, then they will see it and can answer your question. There are meetups that can happen on Instagram by using unique hashtags. It's a great way to virtually get together with people of similar interest.

How do you use Instagram for genealogy, or to connect with other genealogists?