I reveal the mysteries of Instagram‘s inner workings. Some nuances to privacy settings are unclear on Instagram Help, so let’s shed some light. Skip to ii. Privacy below if you know enough about account management and third party Instagram websites.
i. Instagram FAQ
1. Can I have multiple usernames?
Yes. Each must be associated with a different email address.
2. Can I toggle between my usernames on the iPhone app?
No, you have to log out and log in to switch your profile. Here are tips on using Dropbox and Fotogramme to make toggling less painful.
3. Can I see Instagram pictures online?
Yes. Some are directly uploaded to Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous etc. But if a user simply tweets a link to the IG picture, you can see it by clicking the link (or in twitter.com’s native display). However, you won’t be able to login and Like or comment. To do this:
4. Can I Like and comment Instagram pictures online while being logged into and able to manage my IG account?
Yes. For this, I like statigr.am best. There are several other third party Instagram services. This post covers the top 10, however I’ll leave out the cat-related and meaningless competition-based ones in my list.These are the other two sites with functionality closest to the Instagram iPhone app:
A. Ink361 (formerly Inkstagram) Login to this web-based version of Instagram. You can do everything you can on the iPhone app except add new pictures.
B. Insta-great Login to see Instagram photos, follow/unfollow users, or to like photos. Filter photos by dates, users, or tags. You can only view one picture in full size at a time.To see IG photos in a stream or grid, try the web gallery Instagrid.
ii. Privacy Tips
You can block a user. This means that even if they are following you, they will not see your photos in their Instagram feed, nor will your actions (commenting, liking) show up in their News – Following feed. However, they can still see your photos in other ways: If you tweet or post a link to another social network when you share an IG photo, they can click it and see the photo. For example, I am on private mode but I shared to Twitter when I uploaded this Sweetwater Brewing Co. Instagram photo:
Anyone can see this photo online, but only IG users who I have approved to follow me can A) view it naturally in their feed, B) view it within the iPhone app, C) like or comment. Don’t put anything on Instagram that you’d be ashamed for someone to see.
You can toggle “Photos are private” on or off in the app Profile settings. Anyone who followed you while you were not in private mode will not be affected, but new followers will be in approval purgatory just like on Foursquare. More on viewing private photos online here.
If you are already in private mode and still have a particular user you don’t want to have access, be mindful of new followers. If a user has few pictures (less than ten), few followers, or lacks profile picture: red flag.
If you’re concerned about a stalker, save all their email addresses in your phone contacts. When a new user joins IG with an email address you stored, IG announces, “Your friend (Caught B. Ingdumb) just joined Instagram.” Not knowing this, the stalker will assume that their fake profile is unbeknownst to you.
Deleting comments on Instagram for iPhone
You can delete your own comments anywhere and others’ comments on your photos. When viewing any photo, click “comment” at the bottom as if you were going to comment. If you slide your finger left over any comment, you’ll have the option to delete it. Slide back to the right if you don’t want to delete. Comment with any questions. Follow me on Instagram @emilybinder.
*This blog is not affiliated with Instagram in any way. My knowledge is based on my own experience and experimentation.
Update 2/10/12: Due to the volume of comments, it may take me a few days to respond. Read through the posted responses to see if your question has already been answered.
Update 8/27/12: Instagram 3.0 was released on 8/16/12. This app update introduced Photo Maps and greater privacy over the following and follower lists for private users (now these lists are not visible to non-followers). This post was originally published on 12/6/11 and the comments predating 8/16/12 reflect Instagram 2.0. I won’t go back and edit all the comments but I will answer in real time going forward.