inspiration-coverInstagram is five years old. In no time at all, the popular social network has become a leader platform for sharing photos, and a tool that many people use to relate parts of their lives to the online community.

According to the data shown yesterday by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, we are really talking about enormous numbers of people. On average, in Italy we scroll down photos for about 2 minutes and 47 seconds each day, and altogether there are 400 million users and more than 80 million photos shared everyday.

James Quarles, Instagram’s second in command, recalls that the great secret of Instagram is not its intrinsic “usefulness”, since it is not a platform for trading goods, but rather its ability to inspire.

The first meaning of inspiration in Oxford Dictionaries is: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. These are important words for our University, but not only for us.

We are living a time of predominant speed, in which technological progress has freed up access to a world of knowledge for everyone, whatever their time zone is, as long as they have an internet connection. So the real meaning of education has changed. School and university are no longer the main providers of notions. They need to inspire. Inspire curiosity, the desire to explore new horizons, new perspectives and new ideas.

Just like Instagram, we should be able to inspire and share inspiration with those around us, in a sort of contagious dance for the improvement of the status quo. Because even the toughest situations may allow unexpected flowers to blossom.

The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all. (Walt Disney, Mulan)