Technology Training

What is Instagram?

·         Instagram is a free social media platform for sharing photos and videos.

·         Since its launch, Instagram has become a popular way to connect with brands, celebrities, thought leaders, friends, family, and more.

·         From short-form videos to live streaming, Instagram has a vast array of features that I will explain.

Instagram is a social media network like no other. Instead of words, the platform is built almost entirely around sharing images and videos. This visual twist is why Instagram is the cultural powerhouse it is today

With over a billion registered accounts, Instagram, which was bought by Facebook in 2012, has become a part of daily life. It seems like everyone is on Instagram nowadays, from small businesses to big ones, news organisations to cultural institutions, celebrities, photographers, and musicians, and not to mention the cottage industry of influencers that have come in its wake.


How to get it

To start using Instagram, you’ll need to download the app and sign up for an account. It’s available for free on iOS,Android, and Windows devices.

Upon opening the app for the first time, you’ll be prompted to create a new account, or log in with your Facebook account. If you choose to make a new account, the process is straightforward: You’ll be asked for your phone number or email address, full name, desired username, and password.

Once you create an account, it’s worth noting that you can create and switch between multiple Instagram accounts without logging out,” a very useful feature if you wish to, say, run separate accounts for personal and professional use. Even though Instagram is designed primarily for smartphones, the desktop experience, once very limited, has steadily improved over the years. Today, you can get on Instagram from your computer and use a web browser to edit your profile, view your feed, like and comment on posts, and send and receive direct messages.



When you first set up your Instagram account, you’re going to want to set up your profile. Your profile page is a hub for all your photos and videos, where you can keep track of who you’re following and who’s following you. It’s also where you can access your settings.

Customising notifications

Keeping up with others on Instagram means making sure you’re getting the right notifications, when you want them. The platform gives you the power to choose what push notifications it sends to your device. For example, perhaps you want to receive a notification when you get a new follower, or when someone comments on your post. Or maybe you’re feeling inundated with pings, and you want them to turn notifications off completely.


So how does Instagram work?

At its core, Instagram is a social network, and a highly visual one at that. Every time you open the app, you’ll be met with a main feed of recent posts from the accounts you follow. At the bottom is a menu bar, which is accessible anywhere you are in the app.


List of Instagram symbols & icons

1. Instagram Post Symbols Meaning

Heart Symbol

The heart symbol is the usual like button. Tapping it will make the heart red and add a like to the photo. You can also double-click on the photo to like it. Know how to view all your liked photos. Also, find out how to hide likes on your Instagram posts.

Chat Bubble

This icon refers to comments. Tap on it to view the comments under a post or to post a new comment. Check out how to see all the comments you have made on Instagram.

Paper Plane Icon

Consider this as a send button. You can use it to send the post to your Instagram friends via Instagram messaging or add the post to your story.


This icon lets you save or bookmark the post to your collections. To view the saved posts, open your Instagram profile screen and tap on the three-bar icon at the top. Choose Saved from the menu. Saved posts are private and only you can view them.

Person Icon

The person icon on a post means that someone is tagged in the post. Tap on the post to reveal the username of the tagged person.


The three-dot icon on the posts offers various other options like sharing outside of Instagram, turning on post notifications, and more.

2. Instagram Home Screen Symbols Meaning

Add (+)

The add or plus icon lets you create a new post, story, live, or Reels video.


An icon similar to Facebook Messenger appears at the top. This takes you to your Instagram inbox, which is now connected with Facebook Messenger, however, there is a way to remove FB Messenger from Instagram if you so wish.

Search Icon

The search icon takes you to the Explore feed. Here you will discover new content automatically. And if you are looking for something, tap on the search bar at the top and enter your query.


This icon will take you to the Reels feed. Swipe up to view new Reels.


Tapping on it will display your Instagram notifications.

Profile Picture

Tap this icon to go to your profile. Alternatively, if you are using multiple Instagram accounts, long touch this icon to view and switch between accounts.

Instagram Profile Page Icons Meaning

Profile Tabs

On the profile or bio screen, you will find various tabs. Those include posts, Reels, IGTV, and tagged posts. Tap on the one to switch to it.

Arrow Icon Next to Username

If you are viewing your own bio screen, you will see a small down arrow next to your username at the top. Tap on it to switch between multiple profiles if any. If you see a red dot, it means one of the other accounts has unread notifications.

Bell Icon

When you are checking someone else’s profile, you will see a Bell icon. Tap on it to enable notifications from that person when they post a story, Reel, IGTV video, etc.

Arrow Icon Next to Following

The small arrow next to the Following button lets you mute, restrict, unfollow, or add the person to the Close Friends list.

Instagram Story Symbols Meaning

Paper Plane

While watching stories, you will find the Paper plane icon. Tapping on it will let you send or share the story with others.

Send a Message

If you want to reply to the creator of the story, tap on the Send message button. You will see quick reaction smileys. Tap on it to send a smiley as a reply or tap on the GIF icon to send a GIF. You can also type your reply in the Send message box.

Instagram Reels Symbols Meaning

On Instagram Reels, you will find similar icons as present on a post. That is the heart button, chat bubble, and paper plane icon. All of them have the same meaning as that of the post. Apart from that, you will have the Sound icon. Tapping on it will take you to the audio page of the sound used in the video. You will also see a Camera icon at the top that lets you create a new Reel.

Like other social media networks, Instagram is what you make it. For most people, checking Instagram is equal parts voyeurism and self-expression. For the entrepreneurial set, like business owners, brands, and influencers, Instagram is an indispensable marketing tool with unmatched reach. But going back to basics, Instagram works off a simple premise: You follow accounts that interest you. In turn, people follow you. People can “like” and comment on your posts, and you can do the same to their posts. Whether you maintain a low profile or amass a following, how active you are is entirely up to you.