Is an Instagram worth one thousand “likes” or words?
I always thought that Instagram was a great social media network that people all over the world used in order to edit and share photographs. Since I have been abroad, I am guilty of using Instagram to capture and edit photographs in order to share them with friends and family. As soon as I hit the “share” button I admit, I am worried and anxious about how many “likes” the image I have so carefully crafted is going to receive. However, for Instagram users in Ukraine, this feeling about “likes” are irrelevant.
Instead of being worried about how many “likes” a photograph is going to receive, these journalists, photographers, and civilians currently in Ukraine capture photographs taken during the current and ongoing unrest. Instead of worrying about “likes” these people are just concerned about sharing these images with people to see around the world, in order to show what is really happening in Ukraine.
While I was searching for Instagram images of the crisis in Ukraine, I came across a blog post by Olena Sikorska who is editor and chief of Digital East Factor. In her post, “Kiev on Instagram: Before and After Euromaidan”she displays multiple Instagram images captured and documented by people in Ukraine during this terrible time. The Instagram images that Sikorska has chosen display how rapidly Ukraine, and the lives of people living in Ukraine, has changed just from late 2013 to early 2014. The images are truly shocking.
Image is a screengram from Digital Eastfactor
As I continued searching online for more images captured in Ukraine and shared on Instagram, I found a New York Times articlewritten by journalist C.J. Chivers. The article, “Is That an R-330Zh Zhitel on the Road in Crimea?” talks about how Russia has implemented new military equipment in Crimea. Chivers explains that he saw Russian military with, “new or specialized firearms, and state-of-the-art electronic jamming equipment being transported along the Crimean roads.” How did Chivers prove and document that this was happening? He used Instagram.
While he was in Crimea, Chivers examined the new and high-tech military equipment used by Russian forces and documented it by taking photographs on his iPhone. He would then immediately share these images of Russian military forces on Instagram so the public could see these images. Additionally, once Chivers posted these photographs, the images would automatically save on to the Instagram account.
This goes to show how useful social media, in this case specifically Instagram, has been in documenting and displaying the current and ongoing crisis in Ukraine. It is as if Instagram is now a tool in photojournalism. Although news reports, articles, and Tweets have been very powerful and informative during this terrible time in Ukraine, I believe that a picture speaks louder than words. As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and in Ukraine’s case, even more. These powerful images captured throughout Ukraine show just how awful the current crisis and conditions are. Thanks so social media sites like Instagram, people in Ukraine can continue sharing the ongoing and social unrest.
Featured Image courtesy of Flickr user Vladimir Yaitskiy