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By: Cecilia Podrecca, Contributing Writer

Everyone loves to share their story, especially through photographs — whether the picture is of the dinner you made from scratch or your new tattoo. The free Instagram app for iPhones allows its users to to share their life with friends, family and anonymous photography admirers through a series of beautiful pictures.

Judith Gammons, a UNF fine arts senior, expressed an opinion on Instagram that portrays the app in a golden light.

“It’s a new way to experience the portrayal of your personality through photos. It’s an effective and fun way for people to record and share their lives,” she said.

Gammons said its central focus is pictures and short comments without all the extra tools that most networking sites have, like Facebook and its statuses, groups and invites.

Gammons follows celebrities like Snoop Dogg and numerous fashion icons, as well as her personal friends.

Seth Harrick, a UNF undecided freshman, said he loves scrolling through Instagram and seeing great photography from amateurs and professionals alike.

“My favorite photos to look at are self-portraits,” he said. “Scenery is nice, but pretty girls are better.”

Some people like to pick a topic of focus for their Instagram accounts, such as food, animals or themselves. Out of the options for filters, Harrick tends to favor the Early Bird color effect on his photos, which he said focuses on what he’s doing at a certain moment. He takes most of his pictures with other people, and he said he likes to portray activities he’s involved in, such as enjoying the beach, hanging out at parties or playing sports.

Harrick said the app is quick and easy to use, as well as personally beneficial.

“It’s an efficient way to make your favorite pictures look professional and share them with the world before you forget you even took the picture. My Instagram is like my own handheld scrapbook of my life,” he said.

Witnessing an epic Kodak moment with no camera at your disposal can be distressing, but with the Instagram app, photos can be taken, edited and uploaded in minutes.

Summer Wood, a UNF graphic design senior, said the app is a much easier way to publish photography; instead of taking photos with your camera, transferring them to your computer and then using editing software to edit them, users can accomplish the same task in minutes with Instagram.

Wood said she depends on her iPhone and Instagram to capture picture-perfect memories when she doesn’t have her camera with her. Wood said the social aspects also contribute to her enjoyment of the app. Users can “double tap” to like one another’s images, post comments, use hashtags and tag other users — all of which portray the app’s socially connected qualities.

Students who use Instagram concede that it’s an easy-to-use mobile social network that produces high-quality photos. And the numbers of users is growing. By December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users, a number which grew to 5 million by September 2011.

“I think it’s a great, open and unencumbered way of photo sharing, with no rules yet to hold anyone back from expressing their full persona,” Gammons said.

Email Cecilia Podrecca at [email protected]