300+ Instagrammers meet to tell SA stories


The South African Instagram community has descended upon the small town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape for the first national Instameet from 24 to 27 September.

On Friday morning, over 150 "Instagrammers" had arrived and nearly 250 more are expected over the weekend.

The national Instalment is a collaboration between @southafrica – an Instagram account started by Craig Rodney – and South African Tourism. Activities will include hosted cultural photo-walks, bonfires, and sunrise missions in and around Graaff-Reinet.

Initiator Craig Rodney, who is also MD of Cerebra, says Instameet "is about creating real-world opportunities for people to engage, as opposed to just liking, commenting and posting on Instagram.

"This is a great opportunity for people to have conversations about things other than how many followers they have.

"The town is very well aware of the fact that we are here, people have been greeting us and asking if we are the "Instagrammers" - like we are a homogenous bunch of people – but it is great for the town and putting it on the map."

Rodney hopes for an annual event in different small towns across the country.

Instagram has more than 400 million users worldwide.

Instagrammers from around the country descend upon the small town of Graaff-Reinet for the first national Instameet.

Instagrammers from around the country descend upon the small town of Graaff-Reinet for the first national Instameet.
"Instagram usage (in South Africa) is growing at more than 100% per year, faster than Facebook did in this country during the same period," said Facebook EMEA VP Nicola Mendelsohn.

Last week, the South African Social Media Landscape 2016 study by World Wide Worx revealed that Instagram had more than doubled its user base in SA, from 1.1 million in 2014 to 2.68 million in 2015 – a 133% growth.

"When I started using Instagram I did not realise it was a social network, I thought it was an app for applying filters to pictures that you put on Facebook. I never imagined it would get to this point, I really didn't, says Rodney. "But now that we are here, I have realised there is so much more that we can do. I am proud of this event and everyone that has contributed, but I am also sure that it can go a lot further."

Africa's top Instagrammer, Gareth Pon says the growth of Instagram in South Africa is no surprise. "South Africa does tend to catch on a little late. There are a few of us who managed to get in on it a bit earlier and have seen how Instagram has really taken over overseas, so to see it happen here is really exciting."

To see what happens this weekend in Graaff-Reinet, follow #meetsouthafrica can be followed on Instagram.
Source: ITWeb