Hashtags are the filing system of the Internet, a way to make sense of the ephemera of the Web.
Instagram categorizes photos and videos through hashtags, which allow users to get the most out of their feed and expose their work to a larger, more targeted audience. With the help of Websta, a third-party website, we took a look at what the world has been taking pictures and videos of.
Here are the 20 most popular Instagram tags of all-time. Note, the bolded numbers represent the total posts since Instagram went live in 2010.
1) #love // 975,706,378
Photos of babies, spouses, delicious-looking food, and selfies with your buds: There is no better descriptor for these things than love. The most popular hashtag for years is now nearing 1 billion posts. Hard to find another word as deserving.
2) #instagood // 519,109,520
This one is pretty self-explanatory. They're photos on Instagram, and they're good (at least, they claim to be). A quick search through the hashtag will show you a bunch of random images. Throw #instagood on the end of your posts to get maximum viewing potential.
3) #photooftheday // 377,693,232
Worded for success this hashtag presumably receives 365 posts per year per person. It is a good time saver, summing up the feelings and adventures of your day with one single image.
4) #tbt // 358,267,083
An acronym for Throw Back Thursday, though a search for the hashtag will come up with photos from throughout the week. This one is a great tag for those lazy days when there just isn't anything visually appealing going on. Just stay in bed and repost one of your old photos, tacking on the Throwback Thursday hashtag.
5) #cute // 353,381,114
No need for explaining this one. As you might imagine, this is the place for animal photos, like the magnificent one shown below.
6) #me // 343,195,951It's one of the main reasons for having a social media profile in the first place: Showing yourself off to others. #me is the prime destination for selfies, hair cuts, jewelry—as long as it's about you.
7) #beautiful // 343,110,103
Landscapes, people, animals, just about everything in our world is beautiful in one way or another, making this tag a classic for throwing on the end of an Instagram post.
8) #followme // 338,607,626
Well you are not posting these photos without reason. This no-nonsense call-to-action reminds those viewing your wonderful images and videos to give you credit for it by following you. Now all you have to do is keep up the good work.
9) #happy // 337,556,636
A feeling more than one third of a billion posts share. Though probably not as strongly as this kid.
10) #follow // 332,263,126
This is like #followme, but obviously a little less descriptive.
11) #fashion // 298,183,431
Fashion and photography go hand-in-hand, so it's no surprise that so many people want to show off their attire to the rest of the world.
12) #selfie // 291,377,905
This legendary hashtag is somehow outside of the top 10.
13) #picoftheday // 285,920,441
Because photo is sometimes too long to spell out.
14) #like4like // 279,232,264
A short way of saying "If you like my post I will like yours back." This tag is all about feeding your ego and getting those all-important likes.
15) #girl // 256,775,131
Girls like to post pictures. In fact, according to a 2015 Statistica study, 31 percent of #girls on the Internet use Instagram.
16) #tagsforlikes // 256,709,106
Pretty much follows the same formatting as 14th place, but watch out: You'll have to spell out "for" to get your images on this tag's page. It's a pretty versatile add-on—even a cheese platter qualifies:
17) #instadaily // 248,343,470
Another redundancy, #instadaily is like #photooftheday for people who just aren't ready for the big time.
18) #friends // 245,711,616
Nothing more social than hanging out with your friends. Break out the wide-angle lens and show your buddies off to the world.
19) #summer // 238,560,564
There is a good chance it is summer somewhere. And there is no better time to let your camera shine than when the sun is out. #summer is all about being outside and soaking up the fresh air.
20) #fun // 233,475,962
Because who wants to take pictures in a bad mood? Just ask this turtle.
Photo by Romana Correale