Great Social Media Idea: Instagram Wall Calendar

Just like everything else I'm going to post this week, this is a project I did over the past month. My blog, my rules. (That, and I'm too lazy to build up a queue of better ideas from other colleges at the moment... still a bit hungover from the craziness of the past few weeks.) 

I'm not really sure what to call this idea, but "Instagram Wall Calendar" seems to be close enough. What it really is is a curated collection of the several thousand photos students tagged with the various UP-related hashtags during the 2014-15 academic year, set into a really killer design, and put up in the main entrance of our campus library like a great big art instillation. Check it out (click the photos below to see more):

There is a small "gallery" text placard to the left of the display explaining that each arrow represents a month of the year. (Starting with August in the top left and ending with April in the lower left... we merged December and January into one arrow due to Christmas break.) You really can get a neat and powerful sense of the year and the passing of time, with pics of the weather, the changing colors, and the various athletic games and campus events. Naturally, the placard also encourages students to use the UP hashtags and follow the school on Instagram, because, you know... marketing.

To pull this off, we used an amazingly helpful program called odrive that allows you - among many other things - to bulk download photos from Instagram tagged with a particular hashtag. This saved us a ton of time, and though it has a little bit of a learning curve to set up, I couldn't recommend it highly enough if you find yourself in a position where you need to download a lot of pics from Instagram. It's super awesome.

Then my fantastic student worker Sammy went through all the pics - So. Many. Pics. - and chose the best ones from each month. (Did I mention that odrive automatically includes the original upload date in the file names? Because it does. Which was also incredibly helpful.) Then, they got placed into the design we chose and printed with great care and expertise - I wish I understood better the process it took to get the full color front, opaque white, and gray backs onto one piece of vinyl - and installed.

I love the concept, I love how it looks in person, and I particularly love how it fits in so naturally with the architecture on the back side, where the gray boxes and arrows look like they've always belonged. My vision all along was to make something more like an art installation and less like a social media project, and I feel like we were able to accomplish that.

The one disappointing thing about this project was that it got delayed a few weeks by circumstances out of my control (design and production, natch) and only got installed the day that students were moving out of the dorms. Insert huge sad face here. But the seniors and their families had a chance to see it before graduation, and the library has graciously agreed to leave it up through the start of the next school year, so the students will definitely get lots of chances to see it. Still, my dream of having it up in the main entrance of the library during its two most heavily trafficked weeks - dead week and finals week - didn't pan out. Which was very frustrating.

But it doesn't prevent me from being proud of how it turned out and excited for all the students to discover it throughout the summer and at the start of the next school year.

Hope you all enjoy this one... I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff from me!  :)

Great Social Media Idea: Graduation Recap Video

Great Social Media Idea: "A Look Back" Video for Graduates