I must say, I am really surprised by the staying power instagram has. When it was released, I understood the novelty. Low resolution square photos felt new in our high def, wide screen world. Applying filters is fun, and makes mundane pictures seem interesting. After all, would photos of snacks be as eye catching without the kitschy filter? But really, how long would we want to take low-res photos with our high end smart phones?
Turns out, at least two years and counting. When Facebook came out with their own camera app we passed. When twitter removed the embedded images from instagram, we clicked through. When they said they had writes to our photos, we got enraged but stayed. Some of us, like myself, tried to leave but were sucked back in. (Although for the record I still prefer Flickr and use it for my personal photos.) The user base is too large, and too active to ignore.
However, instagram is still very limited. It’s still just photos with a handful of filters. We’ve gotten some new ones, and some new features like tilt and luxe. Because of this, third party apps have come out to expand on instagram. Seeing collages? Separate app. Heavy blur? Separate app. Text on photos? Separate app.
One big trend in these instagram add ons is artsy text. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes you only need ten to get your point across. Its a trend that came about pretty organically. People would take photos of notes they jotted on a piece of paper, or screen shots from their preferred note app. They’d instagram it, and post it. So developers saw an opportunity and capitalized.
This wasn’t really something that interested me for a while. I have enough social networks that if I want to use words I can. Then I saw some whims starting to show up in my Instagram feed. It didn’t hurt the ones I saw were using the Star Wars font. I downloaded it to see what it was all about.
What’s nice about Whims, at least for someone like me, is that it has predetermined fonts and color schemes for those fonts. You input your text, choose a font set (two predetermined fonts that pair well together), and color scheme. You can then select text to switch the font of just a single word or phrase. Alter the size and spacing, Apply a “texture.” And you’re done! You can then share it to several social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr). What I prefer to do though is to just share it with Instagram, apply a filter, and share it to the social networks from there. The integration is what makes Whims particularly useful for me.
There’s a “spotlight” section of Whims where you can see what’s most popular on the network. Right now it’s about a cliche as the quotes section of Pinterest. I’m really hoping to see more original content as the network picks up steam. It may be as simple as people using those quotes to play with as they learn the app. I know personally I’ve been using book, song, and game quotes as I play around with getting a feel for the app.
Overall, Whims is fun to play with. And creating whims is easier and far more eye catching than doing screenshots, blurring irrelevant parts, and instagramming the funny things Claire and I text to each other so I’ll be at least using it for that.