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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

Photoset

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Writing Love Letters with @nasyakopteva and @sashabraulov

To see more photos and videos of Nasya and Sasha’s handmade mail art, follow @nasyakopteva and @sashabraulov on Instagram.

Some of the greatest writers in history have turned to love letters to communicate deep feelings despite distance. For two Russian Instagrammers, @nasyakopteva and @sashabraulov, it was their love for handmade letters and envelopes that kindled a deep friendship, which later developed into love.

Living in different parts of Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow) Nasya and Sasha would share small notes or “mail art” with each other. As their love and friendship grew, Sasha made sure he was glued to Nasya’s Instagram account.

"I viewed Nasya’s Instagram account every day," says Sasha. "If there appeared multiple photos of her working desk with envelopes and paper, to me it was a sure sign that I should check my post box shortly after as a new creation must have been sent to me."

The couple met through mutual friends on a trip to St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum (@hermitage_museum). The two now live together in St. Petersburg after marrying in late 2013. Even though they’re now physically together, their declarations of love through sharing handmade envelopes, postcards and other objects in the mail continues as they post remnants to Instagram as keepsakes.

"Our marriage did not affect our correspondence in any way," Sasha continues. "We still love sending heartwarming things to surprise and gladden the other meaningful half—reminders of the moments that are particularly dear to both of us."

Nasya adds, “Our Instagram accounts, apart from snapshots from our travel, sometimes host photos of the mail art creation process. They help us save the perceptions that are dear to us: the sentiment, the light, the texture, interaction of colors. It’s sharing bits of our daily inspiration, not just visual content.”

Nasya and Sasha also share some visual messages to each other privately through Instagram Direct, as well as publicly on their accounts.

"It’s great for those who sometimes find it important to restrict the number of those who get these little beautiful pieces of mail art," Nasya adds. "Especially for those wanting this visual communication to take place within Instagram. We are now accustomed to the interface and have literally fallen in love with it.”

Photoset

instameet, New York City, instagram direct,

Adventures in Snowy NYC with #brooklyndirectconnect

For more photos and videos from the meet-up, check out the #brooklyndirectconnect hashtag.

Just a day after the launch of Instagram Direct, New York City saw one of the first substantial snowfalls of this winter. Undeterred by the cold, a few intrepid Instagrammers decided to celebrate the snow by meeting up under the Manhattan Bridge.

As the snow began, NYC Instagrammer Danielle (@mimizinne) sent a video of herself walking through Prospect Park in the snow to a group of her friends with Instagram Direct. Her caption: “Bundle up guys. It’s cold outside.” In the span of a few minutes, the conversation around her video turned to ideas of getting together—and within a few hours, they had all gathered under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo. As Danielle explains, “For a lot of the people, I don’t have their phone numbers. It was a way to reach out to a bunch of people who I know through Instagram.” People on the thread invited their friends in turn, bringing together a group of new people excited about the beautiful snow in their city.

Video

instagram news, instagram direct,

Introducing Instagram Direct

Watch Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom announce Instagram Direct on our livestream video here.

Today, we’re excited to bring you Instagram Direct, a new way to send photo and video messages to friends.

Over the past three years, the Instagram community has grown to over 150 million people capturing and sharing moments all around the globe. As we’ve grown, Instagram has evolved not only into a community of photographers, but also into a means of visual communication. From a photo of your daily coffee to a sunrise shared from the top of a mountain hike, every Instagram moment contains something you find special—something you broadcast to your followers when you tap “share.”

There are, however, moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people—an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments.

From how you capture photos and videos to the way you start conversations through likes and comments, we built Instagram Direct to feel natural to the Instagram experience you already know. When you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed. Tap it to open your inbox where you’ll see photos and videos that people have sent to you. To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens. At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done.

After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation unfolds.

Photos and videos that you receive from people you follow will appear immediately. If someone you’re not following sends you a photo or video on Instagram, it will go to your requests so you can decide if you want to view it.

To learn more about Instagram Direct, check out help.instagram.com.

Instagram for iOS version 5.0 is available today for download in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 5.0 is available today on Google Play. Instagram for Windows Phone is in beta. Stay tuned for future updates.