It feels like Instagram has been around forever! Yet it's only been 8 years. For comparison, Facebook is a 14-year-old teen. No wonder it seems so moody lately. 

Below is the very-first Instagram picture posted to the app, taken by CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom, who shared a pic of his Golden Retriever. It got over 81,609 likes and was uploaded on 16 July, 2010, the day Instagram launched. 

A post shared by Kevin Systrom (@kevin) on


READ MORE: Selfie surgeries are on the rise. What does it really mean to be photogenic? 

But who were the first Insta-stars of fashion? 

Manrepeller recently featured an article called  Was Caroline Calloway the First Instagram Influencer?. A few years ago the career of being an influencer didn't exist, not as a permanent job or even a side hustle. Now being your own brand can open doors, and make you money. That is if you give your audience what they want.

Caroline Calloway joined Insta in 2012 and she now has over 85K followers.

This was her first-ever post: 

This was her most recent post: 

I’m a big believer of putting exactly what you want out into the universe and waiting to see how it unfolds. So let this be your daily reminder to always tell the truth and to always ask. And always in that order. Be honest with yourself about what you want from your life and what you need from the people you hold dear. Not what you think your life SHOULD look like to others, or what your dear ones MIGHT BE WILLING TO DO as long as you don’t ask for too much. Just figure out what makes being a human feel worth it to you. What makes life feel really juicy and full. And go after it. There’s no shame in telling the truth. Actually, that’s vague phrasing. WHEN WE ARE DEALING WITH OUR INNERMOST HOPES AND DREAMS AND SECRETS THERE IS ALMOST ALWAYS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF SHAME INVOLVED. We live in a world with a very narrow of vision of success. There is not a lot of wiggle room cool. Want to do something different with your life than others’ expectations? Insane. Made choices other people wouldn’t have? Damning. The judgement is real. But so is the self-acceptance that comes with putting your hand on your heart and listening to that little voice that already knows what’s true FOR YOU. And no, I’m not talking about the $7,000-$10,000 that my heart definitely wants you to pay me for attending your event. I’m talking about my past. My cancelled book deal. My future. Yours. I’m talking about the magic that happens when a person is fully honest with herself about her priorities and starts taking steps to make her life align with her interior world—others’ damned! I’ve realized then and only then do others’ opinions begin to matter less. The antidote for shame, it turns out, is tackling that shame head on. So here’s to transparency. Here’s to being brave and putting embarrassment aside. Here’s to a master class in personal branding because, honestly, my natural talent cannot be denied! I’m scared I’ll fail. I’m scared there will be moments when I let the shame and judgement get to me. But when it does, I hope I will have the courage to be honest about it. So onwards! Upwards! A new era of Instagram is about to begin and I can’t wait to see how it all on unfolds.

A post shared by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

In the article on Manrepeller she talks about the evolution of Instagram, and how it started with aerial shots. You know the ones, where you take pictures of your food from above, a flat lay of your cosmetics, or whatever products. Now, it's much more complex, and knowing what will work is unpredictable as the 'recipe' keeps changing. 

READ MORE: This is how I make money as an influencer 

Sarah Langa who has a whopping 148K followers on Instagram told us that, "You will never be able to make money as an influencer if you don’t treat what you do as a business. The level of commitment and professionalism that you portray in your quality of work must reflect that of an established organisation and that is how you get brands and companies to take you seriously.

"Like any other business; innovation, diversity and adaptation is what will keep you growing so always keep an open mind and have the willingness to learn from your peers.” 

Another big influencer is Kefilwe Mabote who has 489K followers. She says, “I’m in this industry for the long haul, therefore I am selective about which brands I work with, ensuring that everything I do fits my brand essence and profile so that I am still true to myself and my followers. Money is not instant in this industry, you need to build a name for yourself and a reputable platform. Monetising comes from my stylist/personal shopper business, retainer clients, brand partnerships and ad-hoc paid for brand campaigns across categories that match my profile and interests.”

The very first SA bloggers hopped onto Insta soon after it launched to promote their already successful monetised blogs.  See how their personal brands have changed and evolved to cater to an ever-changing audience of followers: 

Aisha Baker, Baked Online. (Formerly Baked the Blog) 

2013

Turban braid ??

A post shared by Aisha Baker (@bakedonline) on

2018

Boity, The Human Gallery.

2012

God is such a show-off. #Perfection #FlightOfTheAngels #vicfalls

A post shared by Boitumelo Thulo (@boity) on

2018

#WCW ereng mongwaneng? ????

A post shared by Boitumelo Thulo (@boity) on

Thithi Nteta, TeeTeeAtLarge (Formerly TeeTeeIsWithMe) 

2012

2018

What an excellent weekend ???

A post shared by Thithi Nteta (@teeteenteta) on

With almost 24K followers, influencer Shiela Ho chatted to us about how her Instagram changed over time. 


"I started Instagram when I went to Asia for modelling because it was already big over there and whoever didn’t have an account, worked less. Every time when I went to Asia I would continue my posts but back in Europe and South Africa I never consistently posted images.

"Only when I became a mom, did I start to share my experience about my daily life challenges and collaborating with brands, showing the luxury of working from home through my profile.

"Being in the modeling industry for more then 10 years now I have developed a particular look and style which has flourished into the brand it is today." 

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