Photo taken by raiosunshine.

The first photo I shared on Instagram was of a graffito in an alleyway off Illinois Street. It wasn't a fancy photo. It wasn't a good photo. It was just a straight-on shot of some spray painted words, with a light leak I added with Afterlight.

Over time, I grew more familiar with Instagram and with various photo editing apps. When I shared snippets of my travels out west, and to Hannibal, Missouri, I appreciated the easy access to others' feeds. I could see what they saw. I could get advice about where to stay or what to do. I could connect to them--connect to them through a square image displayed on my handheld computer. Through this app, I could talk about historic Indianapolis architecture with fellow preservationists. I could swoon over a photo of a kitten, a tiny ball of fluff sleeping in the most awkward of positions. I could make jokes, plan events, offer sympathy, and even--gasp--meet people.

Instagram is more than a photo app--it's a community. It celebrates the good. It celebrates the beautiful. And it's also there when prayers and support and love are most needed. Strangers who have never met, who may have nothing more in common than a photo of a national landmark, develop friendships.

A lot of cities have "igers" groups, which makes socializing with other photo-takers even easier. These groups often organize "instameets"--photo tours in which a group explores a particular location and Instagrams its adventures. Today actually happens to be the ninth worldwide Instameet, and Instagram is encouraging individuals to "get together with a few close friends and explore or meet some new friends by joining a large group in your local Instagram community."

The igersindy group is based in Indianapolis, though there is also a general igersindiana account, too. Each month, igersindy hosts an Instameet. I've been to a few, and will be attending one today. The Instameet held in March was the last one I attended and was, thus far, the most fun I've had at one. The group walked up and down the Monon Trail, explored an abandoned building, and practically had photogasms upon reaching Locally Grown Gardens. We're all goofy, we all like to joke about doing #anythingforthegram, and we all like to take pictures--of our location and of each other. We've become friends--we'll attend concerts together, explore the city together, agree to meet for brunch. We'll travel to Chicago together, or to Louisville, or to St. Louis. And, sure, we share our photos and our tidbits, but what we remember the most are the laughs, and the jokes, and the teasing accusations, and the food, and the memories themselves.

Group photo on the top-left taken by addisonray.

Do you have an Instagram? Do you take part in a local Instagram community or another social media-based community?


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