Josh Johnson and the Instagram Community
Josh Johnson, known in the Instagram world as @joshjohnson, is one of the first Instagrammers I followed and is most likely responsible for my impending addiction to the app. Instagram was in its infancy and Josh was one of the only Instagrammers hosting daily photo challenges. It was a great way for me to be able to stretch my creativity, connect with others and get involved in the community. Over the years, Josh and I have gotten a chance to know each other offline. Josh is crazy busy these days, but was willing to take some time with me to do a quick interview.
K: Kewiki JJ: Josh Johnson
K: So, tell us in a couple sentences who Josh Johnson is, what you do, etc.
JJ: I’m a professional photographer who found Instagram and has had a hard time picking up my Canon ever since. Once I experienced snap, edit and share, it was hard to go back to all the work that’s required with photography as I use to know it. For me, if creativity was the drug, IG was an intravenous injection. Instant buzz.
K: How long have you been on Instagram?
JJ: Almost two years
K: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen on Instagram since you started?
JJ: I think the popular page, now known as explore, is the most obvious. When we started in this community I think it took everyone by surprise the quality of photography that people were sharing. As more and more people have come on the app, it is obvious that the general culture is less about the artistic side of photography.
K: What would you say are the biggest improvements and biggest downfalls of Instagram’s growth since you started?
JJ: I’m not sure I want to judge it that way actually. I think it will surprise some people to hear me say this but, Instagram is what Instagram is. It’s a place to post pictures. There are no rules so I don’t think I would say it’s going in the right way or the wrong way. It’s growing and changing. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow.
K: Rumor has it, you’ve got a big project going on! What can you tell us about it?
JJ: Rumor is right. We’re developing an app that will be an open community featuring the very best Instagram posts.
K: What was the driving force behind your project?
JJ: I see a problem and I think, “I’m in a good position to fix it. How do you find Instagram’s best images? How do you get your images seen by the Instagram community?” I’ve been featuring some of the best images on the #jj tag for almost two years now. With over 11 million submissions it’s one of Instagram’s most active communities.
K: What other Instagrammers are currently involved and what are they doing to help make the project successful?
JJ: I’m working with Kevin Kuster @kevinkuster and Emily Gomez @ohemg87. Kevin is our staff editor and was the first paid employee of the app. Emily is my assistant.
K: How can others find out about the details of the project and/or get involved?
JJ: Check out the Q&A we’ve created on the @our_new_app account and stay tuned for details on the Kickstarter campaign coming soon. Also, you can join the community by following me @JoshJohnson and participating in the daily forums.
K: What are 5 tips you can give for new folks on Instagram?
“Josh’s 5 Tips”
- Post only your best work. Your feed has very little time to make a positive impression. It’s about quality not quantity. And don’t forget, personality, not just pictures. We want to know what makes you, you.
- Give thoughtful comments. Letting someone know you like their picture is great. Telling them why gets their attention. Always address people by name if you can.
- Befriend the new kids. Visit the followers list of a suggested user. The people with very few posts are new. They’d love to have someone show them around.
- Relevant hashtags are your friend. Use them. And don’t just tag, also be sure to search tags you are interested in as well. You’ll find people that have common interests. Also, geo-tag your shots when you are in public places. Click on the geo-tag above your picture and you will find Instagrammers who are local to your area.
- Ask questions. It’s a great way to start a conversation. You’ll find people are eager to talk to you about their pictures.
K: Any final thoughts you’d like to leave us with?
JJ: Have fun. You will come to realize that the best part of Instagram is not the numbers. You’ll find that you keep coming back to IG because of the friendships you make with people who share your love for taking pictures.
K: Thanks Josh for taking the time to do this interview! Sounds like this new app will be very exciting and we wish you the best of luck!
Josh’s favorite Instagram shots