Harvey C. "Barney" Barnum Jr.

Medal of Honor

I first noticed photo-filter and sharing apps last year when a friend started posting Hipstamatic pictures on Facebook. I tried the app myself and found it a bit unwieldy. I then tried Instagram and found it to be more intuitive – a natural fit. The charm of the app is that it makes photos look dated, oversaturated or desaturated, scratched and smudged. The various filters can make bad photos better. They can also make good photos great (in my opinion). The free iPhone app has become popular enough that developers are releasing apps to work with it. And you know you’ve really made a mark when other companies identify their products as being like yours, such as live-streaming site Justin.tv, which is working on “Instagram for video.” In December, Instagram reached 1 million users. Just to show how fast things are moving, it took Twitter two years to reach that number.

On Valentine’s Day, less than three months later, Instagram announced it had reached 2 million users. Earlier his month, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom (is that his real name?) blogged that the app was receiving $7 million in funding to help it grow beyond a four-employee, iPhone-only app. The company has potential, but there’s always the possibility that people will grow tired of Instagram. Or something better will come along. I’ve read the complaints and dismissals, but they’ve been out there since last fall. I’m still enjoying the app. As long as some fool doesn’t come out tomorrow and declare that Instagram is a $1 billion company, I will be very interested in seeing how it grows further.

The Instagram photo above is from a recent event in which Medal of Honor recipients served as bartenders for charity. I asked one recipient if I could take a close-up and he happily obliged. His name is Barney Barnum. Read here about what he did to earn the highest honor in the U.S. military.

If you found this post unhelpful, watch the following video of an attractive young lady describing Instagram. Hmm, I need a spokesmodel.