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November 07, 2012

800,000 Instagram Photos Bear the Hashtag #Sandy

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

Pictures of Hurricane Sandy shocked people all over the world. Although news sources released plenty of photos of the hurricane, Instagram facilitated the sharing of photos by those affected by the storm.

According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, Hurricane Sandy was the biggest moment that the social media platform has had to date. During the Super Bowl, there were 85,000 photos uploaded bearing the Super Bowl hashtag; during Hurricane Sandy, there were a monumental 800,000 photos uploaded bearing the #Sandy hashtag.

Image via

Systrom told GigaOM that he sees this as an interesting trend in the way that people are sharing events; “If nearly one million photos were tagged with Sandy, imagine how many were take on the East Coast? That’s a really interesting moment in U.S. history because you can look at events and see how it unfolds.” He went on to say that people were interested in photos of Sandy in real-time.

Instagram has seen tremendous growth, starting with zero user-ship in December of 2010 and reaching 80,000,000 by July of this year. Sandy is not the only recent news to be documented on Instagram: yesterday’s presidential election was well-documented on Instagram, from pictures of the long lines of people waiting to vote, to images of the “I Voted” stickers handed out at polling places.

Now, instead of relying on the traditional news sources for images of breaking news and current events, people are able to share their own photos and see the photos of other ordinary citizens. According to ABC News, Instagram is officially the most popular way that smartphone users share photos and it is well on its way to becoming the most popular way to share pictures. Instagram’s role in Sandy and the election prove that Instagram is no longer just the new kid on the social media block; it is becoming a true social media powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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