Sci & Tech

Instagram Event With a Green Twist

Auto & Tech Desk
Instagram Event  With a Green Twist
Instagram Event  With a Green Twist

Tens and thousands of mobile phone photographers, otherwise known as Instagrammers, went out over the past weekend (April 22-24) to photograph their surroundings.

Regardless of age, faith and race, photography and social media enthusiasts in several countries took to the streets or natural landscapes while some even went as far as diving deep under water. These Instagrammers came from all over the world, including Canada, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Venezuela, Scotland, Pakistan and Iran.

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social  networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share  them with others.

Since the advent of Instagram, global communities have gotten together to learn about mobile phone photography. As the community expanded, so did the number of InstaMeets that, in a nutshell, are “gatherings of people coming together to connect, explore and celebrate their creativity”.

In brief, an InstaMeet is where people get together in a predetermined place and at a set time to take photos and upload them on to the highly popular social media website. The forum presents an opportunity to meet one's favorite Instagrammers and put a face on those they had previously only seen and admired their works.  

This year, the 13th Worldwide InstaMeet fell on Earth Day (April 22), because of which the Instagram community urged members to spend the weekend celebrating the wonders and beauty of the planet Earth.

To inspire, it suggested adding a public service element to the InstaMeet, which was to use the hashtag #LifeOnEarthWWIM13 for raising awareness on all types of environmental issues.

  Instagrammers in Iran

Early in January, Iranian Students' Polling Agency conducted a survey on people's views regarding social media websites and applications.

The research was conducted in the month ending December 21, 2015, ISNA reported.

The survey covered Iran's provincial capitals, second-tier cities and villages, and 4,390 people answered the questionnaire.

Results showed that the image-sharing platform of Instagram was the third most popular social media website in Iran with 16.6% of the population using the application.

Coinciding with this survey, Mehr News Agency reported that nearly 24 million people are actively using 3G Internet, which accounts for 31.38% of Internet users in Iran.  

What the statistics tell us were not hard to grasp. Spending a few hours with the largest team that had come together in Tehran, I observed that almost everyone had a smartphone, was actively using 3G and 4G connections.

The event received live coverage from the tech-savvy group. Young and old would snap photos, edit and use filters, as well as the designated hashtag before uploading it to the app.

For the most part, the pictures highlighted urban art elements as well as environmentally-angled shots.    

Hanif Shoaei (@hanifshoaei), 29, a documentary photographer and organizer of the event, said he first came to know about InstaMeets when he attended one during a trip to Nepal.

According to Shoaei, the main aim behind the event in Tehran was to "meet those who inspire and motivate you to create something new".

"There was a teenager who told me it was her first time taking pictures on the streets," he said.

Later when he saw her photos he was impressed, he believes that events like these are the perfect opportunity to spot young talent.

"We can give them the nudge they need to move forward with their aspirations in photography," he said.     

Two other groups in Tehran also organized separate events. Alireza Khatibi (@alirezakhatibiii), 22, along with his team went to Qeytarieh Park in northeast Tehran. They had colored pine-cones and used them as the symbol of their team to celebrate Earth Day.

"It wasn't my first time and I knew about the event a month in advance. I like meeting new people and making new friends," he said.

Khatibi added that they spread an important message through photos: friendship and kindness are not dead.

Khodayar Ahi (@godyar), 37, is a graphic designer and an art director who planned to celebrate Earth Day at the National Botanical Garden near Peykanshahr west of Tehran.

However, an unforeseen set of events occurred and things did not go according to plan. His brother fell ill that very day, so his group snapped photos and ended up meeting him at the hospital. Their photos can be viewed under the hashtag #WWIM_TEHRANLIFE.

Other hashtags for events in Tehran are #Instameet_Tehran, #WWIM13THR and #WWIM13TEHRAN.

Aside from Tehranis, people from Kerman, Shiraz, Kermanshah and Isfahan also got together on Earth Day. Reza Jalali (reza_jl), 26, first learned about it by searching for Instagram's main hashtag #WWIM13. For Kerman, the InstaMeet experience was a first.

"I didn’t know too many Instagrammers in Kerman, but I reached out to those I knew and everybody was up for it. Our main aim was to promote Kerman and its Instagram scene," he said.

The event was held in Qaem Forest, "the weather was great and we managed to explore many new spots". He says with an expression mixed with pleasure and wonder that he made 16 new friends.

Azalea Nazemi (@azaleeaa), 30, was another enthusiastic participant from Tehran. She and her team went on a trip to Abpari Waterfall located in Mazandaran Province.

"The place we visited was deep in the forest and the landscape untouched," she said.

Nazemi sees the event as an excuse to gather with friends and show Iran's gorgeous nature to the world. Their exclusive hashtag is #instameet_abpari.  

Those in Shiraz, Kermanshah and Isfahan could not be reached by the time the article went to print. To see their photos, however, search for #WWIM13SHIRAZ and #WWIM13_Isfahan #KERMANSHAH_INSTAMEET.

What these events around Iran suggest is that due to the prevalence of mobile Internet and cheap Internet generally, the room for creativity using the modern application is allowing a burst of creativity around Iran.

What pleased me the most, however, was to learn the huge potential of the networking service for raising awareness about social and environmental issues, which is on the rise in Iran.

(The photos in the banner have been taken by different Instagrammers who attended the event in Iran.)