It’s hard to describe our recent love affair with Istagram. Conceivably it’s a yearning for the nostalgia of yesteryear, a push back against the perfectness of modern photography. Perhaps it’s the sheer utility of the tool, the fact that anyone can be a photographer, artist and curator.
Maybe it’s simply the fact that you can put a picture of, say, your dirty apartment through the “Lo-fi” or “Earlybird” filter, blur out the edges and tap the sunshine button, and suddenly the everyday becomes exotic.
Whatever the reason, Instagram has, almost overnight, become a shutterbug staple, and for the traveler, it’s become somewhat of a postcard-maker for the digital age where we can send through the (cyber) mail a little nugget of our travels. It can reach a wider audience of our friends, family and colleagues, and it can instill that tinge of envy that every traveler secretly pines for: I’m here. You’re not.
Many find the immediacy of sharing these filter-fixed photos on Instagram and receiving instant feedback addictive. After all, the normal routine is to take the photos, go home, touch them up and share them with friends and family a week or two after your vacation has ended -- once you’re done unpacking, done answering old phone calls and emails, and reached a point where you’re not on vacation anymore and want to relive it.
With Instagram, you can share your travels as they happen and, in the end, have a photo diary of the journey compiled with minimal effort and artistic (read: grainy, fuzzy, high contrast) flair.
That, it seems, is exactly what many of the app’s 100 million users did in 2012.
Users shared some 5 billion photos over the last 12 months, but the most “instagrammed” locations may surprise you.
Tagged over 100,000 times, more Instagram users captured the terminals of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport than anywhere else in the world. More surprising still, Bangkok’s Siam Paragon shopping mall came in a close second.
Traditional destinations like California’s Disneyland Park and New York’s Times Square rounded out the top five along with San Francisco’s AT&T Park. The rest of the list leads one to believe that the residents of Los Angeles are some of the planet’s most active Instagram users. Los Angeles International Airport, Dodger Stadium, the Staples Center and Santa Monica Pier all landed within the top 10.
The only European attraction to make the list was the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Yet, as more users around the world join the photo-sharing app in the coming year, the 2013 list could look entirely different.
Mark Johanson is the travel editor at the International Business Times. He has traveled to and written about more than 30 nations and territories on every continent except...