Groundviews, Vikalpa and Maatram invite their followers on Instagram to follow #snapshotlka, as the platform recently announced the launch of a new feature allowing users to follow hashtags, in the same way as following an Instagram account.

Users who choose to follow a hashtag will see top posts appearing in their main feed. This allows users to follow specific areas of interest – for instance, through following hashtags such as #photojournalism. Rolled out on December 12, the feature was described as a ‘game changer’ by Forbes.

Followers of #snapshotlka will have easy, real-time access to photos collectively posted by Groundviews, Vikalpa and Maatram in one single page. Additionally, it allows those who do not have the Instagram app on their smartphones to view photography from all our sites, in one location, over any browser. To our knowledge, this is the first time a media organisation is using this feature in Sri Lanka.

To follow a hashtag, search for it via the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen, or tap on a hashtag on any post, allowing a page of images related to the hashtag to load. There should be an option to follow the hashtag at the top of your screen. Previously, those who wanted to view content under a particular hashtag would have to search for it each time – a relatively time-consuming process.

Groundviews, Vikalpa in Sinhala and Maatram in Tamil are institutionally anchored to the Centre for Policy Alternatives. Since inception, each site’s technical innovation around storytelling, including over mobiles, is without parallel in the country. Each site engages actively with users over a variety of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Groundviews now has over 35,000 followers on Facebook and over 90,000 followers on Twitter. Over 1000 followers receive regular updates from Groundviews, Vikalpa and Maatram on Instagram. The Groundviews WhatsApp group, relaunched in 2016, has seen active and continued engagement by leading civil society activists, diplomats and government officials, leading to the creation of a second group due to demand. It is currently the only contextual civic media news and information instant messaging group in the island.

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Twitter: @groundviews
Facebook: Groundviews
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Instagram: @groundviews and #snapshotlka