Igersjax, the self-proclaimed official Instagram profile for Jacksonville, brings together amateur and professional photographers online.
Jacksonville residents use #igersjax on Instagram to post or look through photos taken around the city.
Stears says Jacksonville needed an official hashtag.
“The Jacksonville hashtag [#jacksonville] was littered with a bunch of spam essentially,” said Stears. “So if you’d go through right now, you wouldn’t find any Jacksonville photographs.”
The official @igersjax Instagram profile will only post photos relating to the city.
“Igers” is short for “Instagrammers,” or a person who uses Instagram, and several cities create Igers profiles for their residents. Stears says @igersjax is the largest in the state with 22,000 followers.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth from basically people who’ve never picked up a camera to the point where they’re like doing it every day now,” Stears said.
He also says professional photographers have been using the hashtag to showcase their work.
“In the beginning the professionals weren’t totally down with Instagram,” Stears said. “It was sort of the kids’ thing, I guess.”
Stears says people have realized Instagram is a great marketing tool.
Igersjax will have an “Instameet,” a gathering in person, next month.
Stears says the Instameet is open to anyone who wants to come.
The event is scheduled for Thursday, July 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Jacksonville.