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2013: The year in Instagram photos

Perhaps the best way to recount the past 365 days is to do so via the thing that we so-loved to use when events actually happened: Instagram.


Molly McHugh


As 2013 draws to a close, the Internet is paying homage to the year in a variety of ways. But perhaps the best way to really re-experience the past 365 days is to do so via the thing that we so-loved to use when events actually happened: Instagram.

Instagram has gone from personal photo-book to mass media tool. It sees billions of uploads a day, it has millions of users, and usage skyrockets during national events. Which is why we’ve created an Instagram Yearbook.

This is 2013, as we remember filtering it.

North Korea

A constant newsmaker, North Korea did not disappoint in 2013. Between nuclear weapon threats and the continued rule of Kim Jong-un, the quiet, isolated nation began piquing our interest with new access. Journalists were allowed into the country and were able to Instagram evidence. Dennis Rodman also became friendly with the Supreme Ruler and is a fairly consistent visitor.

The new Pope

For the first time since 1415, a pope resigned from his position as leader of the Catholic church. Pope Benedict XVI stepped down due to his age and health-related reasons. And while this alone was noteworthy, the next elected pope, Pope Francis, turned even more heads. The first Latin American pope, he’s also shocked religious and non-religious types alike with his comparably socially liberal attitude and his former occupations (i.e., nightclub bouncer).

The Boston Marathon bombing

This spring, horror swept Boston as the legendary marathon was struck by bombs. Two Chechnyan-American brothers were responsible for the terrorist attack, which killed three and injured more than 200. Prior to their capture, an Internet-based witchhunt for those behind the attack was a prime example of the age of digital vigilante justice (and its many flaws).

Edward Snowden

This year, CIA defector Edward Snowden revealed the full scope of the surveillance state we’ve made guesses about for so long. The extent of the NSA’s peering into our digital devices and accounts shocked users, and new revelations concerning this Big Brother-era continue to surface.

Unrest in the Middle East

Obviously, the violence and upheaval in the Middle East is not exclusive to 2013. However, significant events like the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the Syrian Civil War captivated the entire world (as did the emergence of its president’s own Instagram account).

Typhoon Haiyan

In November of this year, a devastating typhoon hit the Philippines, causing widespread damage, thousands of fatalities, and countless injuries. Recovery efforts continue.

The government shutdown

From Oct. 1 to Oct. 16, the government stopped… working. The decision was motivated by partisan politics regarding Affordable Care Act, and it mostly just made Americans frustrated by our government.

The royal baby (babies?)

You were either consumed or infuriated by the Royal Baby Watch. Prince William and Duchess Catherine became the parents to the smallest royalty of them all, Prince George. Of course, we also welcomed another “royal” babe: North West, the offspring of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Nelson Mandela dies

This winter, the world lost one of the most iconic and accomplished freedom fighters in history. Mandela, who had been ill for some time, died Dec. 5.



Undoubtedly, Beyoncé put her stamp on 2013. Between her documentary, world tour, surprise album release, Super Bowl extravaganza, Mrs. Carter dominated this year. Not to go unmentioned is the fact that she also joined Instagram, meaning she too is now contributing to this year book in her own envy-inducing way.

Screengrab via Beyonce/Instagram

The Daily Dot