Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

How about some Instafixes?

Popular social network still has room for improvement

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Instagram turned three years old over the weekend, but the young social network still has some growing up to do.

The Facebook-owned app is one of the most popular social networks, and it shows. Recently, Instagram surpassed 150 million active monthly users, and it announced last week it will begin displaying photo and video ads.

But there's still room for improvement. So to celebrate Instagram's third birthday, here are three things we want to see.

1. Clickable links

Instagram is an excellent place to share visual content with friends. It's not so great if you need to share a link. Currently, when users post a picture or a video and include a URL in their caption, other users cannot simply tap on the link and be taken to the appropriate website. Instead, they have to manually type it if they want to get anywhere.

That's pretty annoying, and from a user's point of view, there's no obvious reason for it. I personally get frustrated with the lack of clickable links because I post pictures of new gadgets I'm reviewing but I can't include links to my reviews.

So come on, Instagram. Stop being like that, and give us our clickable links.

2. Re-grams

On Twitter, you can retweet others. On Facebook, you can share what your friends have posted. But on Instagram, there's no way to re-gram or re-share what others have posted.

Instead, users have taken to using apps like "Repost for Instagram," or they will simply shoot screen shots of their friends' content and re-upload it.

The demand for this feature is there, and it's happening whether Instagram likes it or not. So Instagram might as well integrate the feature and help all of us get more likes on our photos and videos by letting our followers re-gram our content.

3. Improved

slo-mo video integration

Instagram hasn't made much headway in the world of short video clips. Twitter-owned Vine is still king.

But if there's one thing the mobile social network has going for it here, it's that users can upload video they shoot outside the Instagram app into it later -- a feature Vine doesn't yet support. That's made Instagram popular with users who've bought the new iPhone 5s, thanks to its slow-motion video-shooting capabilities.

The problem is that if users want to share slow-motion footage they shoot with their shiny Apple device, they first have to email the video to themselves and re-save it onto their iPhone 5s so the footage can be compressed. The whole process is weird, and many users probably still haven't figured out how to do this.

Instagram should make sharing slow-motion video easier. One way would be by letting users shoot slo-mo from within its app.

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 13, 2013 A15

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