This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

July 5, 2018

The difference between Facebook and Instagram

Social media can be a lot of fun. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally created just for fun. The idea was to be able to post a photo and write a short explanation. Of course, nowadays just about every social media platform does that, including Twitter, but by far the most popular as of this writing is Facebook and Instagram. And if you're wondering what the difference is, it really is very little.

I've been on the internet pretty much since it was invented. Yes, I had an AOL account at one time, and even a MySpace page. I started teaching computer graphics in the late nineties, and every time something new was invented, I wanted to try it out. I've had a Facebook account for many years, but I only started using Instagram a couple of years ago.

Of course both of these platforms are widely used for advertising. Instagram used to prohibit advertising, but now I see a lot of "promoted" posts. And of course Instagram is where the subtle art of slipping in an advertising message began. A lot of money for people on Instagram who have large followings comes from companies that pay to have their product or service promoted, even if it's as subtle as having someone wear a hat with a logo.

And this is the best place to start: understanding the difference between Facebook friends and Instagram followers. With Instagram, unlike Facebook, someone can put what you post in their news feed without you having to see their stuff. That's following. With Facebook, you have to "friend" someone, and then if you don't want to see their stuff, but still allow them to see yours, you click "unfollow". And that essentially turns your Facebook page into a page that people can follow, and comment on it they'd like to, but you don't have to see their posts.

Another important distinction with Instagram, as opposed to Facebook, is that on Instagram you have to post from your phone. When I got my first iPhone I had a lot of fun with this, as all you really have to do is open the app on your phone, take a picture, and post it. I was also learning voice-to-text, so I got a big kick out of writing a short caption, and including some hashtags.

If you're wondering what a hashtag is, it's this: # . And on Instagram, hashtags are used to help people to find stuff, such as #dachshunds or #gardening. Whenever someone writes a hashtag on Instagram, they become searchable on Instagram by anyone looking for that particular thing, like dachshunds, or gardening. Of course people who are desperately trying to get their Instagram account found will list a whole bunch of hashtags, that look kinda like this #dachshund #dachshunds #dachshundsofinstagram #wiener dogs #dogs #dogsthatdiginthegarden, and the list goes on and on. You can use hashtags elsewhere, like on Facebook, but it's not really necessary outside of Instagram, so if you see a Facebook post with a lot of hashtags, all you're seeing is that someone has posted to their Facebook page from Instagram. This is called cross-posting, which offends many people who see that someone is too lazy to even open up Facebook, or are using some type of robotic service to cross-post to many social media platforms.

I'm enjoying social media, and am learning a lot. Things are always changing, and that makes it fun, and frustrating. My take on this is once you think you've got it all figured out, you're already behind the times.

I hope this helps.

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