Albert “@urphillypal” Lee has taken the local Instagram scene by storm over the last few years. But that’s not all he’s done for Philadelphia. I had the chance to speak with him recently to find out a little more about one of my personal favorite Instagrammers.
Here are five fast facts about him that you might find interesting.
Albert spent the first half of his life within the same three blocks.
A first generation Philadelphia native, Albert didn’t spend his first 18 years moving around much, to say the least.
“My grade school, high school, where I was born and where I live are all within three blocks from each other,” he told me. “I was literally born at Hahnemann hospital at Broad and Vine, my parent’s house was 11th and Vine, my grade school was at 10th and Vine, and my high school was back at Broad and Vine.”
And when you spend that much time in one place, you begin to feel a special way about it, which he has become passionate about sharing with the world around him.
He’s Philly everything now—personal and professional life.
As you can imagine, Albert is about as Philly as it gets. Chances are, you know him from his super popular @urphillypal Instagram account, where he does everything from captivating photography to community organizing to simply highlighting his city. And this is just what he does in his free time. You may or may not know that, when he’s at work, he’s doing much of the same as a social media manager for the city of Philadelphia.
But it’s kind of different flavors of the same thing.
“The only reason that I don’t talk too much about my city job is that it’s a job where I don’t talk about myself. I do it because I want to help contribute to the greater good but I’d rather the Instagram thing be more like, ‘Hey this is me, this is what I do.’”
Before that, he spent a good amount of time in tourism.
That’s right–Albert hasn’t been cooking up digital success for Philly311 since graduating from LaSalle almost 20 years ago. In fact, he actually spent much of that time working in the local tourism industry.
“How cool would it be to actually promote Philly for a living?” he thought.
Naturally, you can imagine how spending 10-plus years telling tourists how awesome Philly is lends itself to promoting the city on social and showcasing it on Instagram.
The guy can grow an Instagram page (with a little help).
Reminder! Saturday is the only sunny day this weekend which means plenty of Oktoberfest celebrations around Philly (as you may have heard) and it's also #WWIM14🍴! And since this year's theme is food, I thought "why not have a bring your own picnic at the Rail Park?" Yep, the Reading Viaduct. Check the tag #wwim14_philly for all the details. Hope to see you Saturday! This is the golden hour in Philly! Happy Thursday! ❤️☀️
Albert Lee has more than 40,000 followers on his Instagram page. The key? Good and relevant content, of course.
“I always joke that I’m not much of a photographer, but I’m a really good communicator and I know how to reach out to people and so I did that and asked the right people and Instagram saw that.”
Back when Instagram started and had a bit of a different layout and algorithm, someone working from the platform must have noticed Albert’s quality content, choosing to feature him as a “suggested user” (if you remember those) which really helped to skyrocket his growth and reach.
Bringing people together is how he gives back to the community.
There was a lot happening in Philly today including having a picnic at @therailpark for #wwim14🍴 to celebrate the community that is @instagram. This is arguably the coolest backdrop I've ever had for the 30+ instameets I've put together in Philly. Here's to many more! #communityfirst #wwim14_philly (P.S. Instagram only allows 20 tags per post ☹️) Happy Saturday! 🍴📸❤️
A big part of what Albert does in his free time in conjunction with his @urphillypal page is organize “instameets” in which like-minded photographers and Instagrammers get together in cool places like the aquarium or the top of the FMC Tower to enjoy new experiences together while simultaneously showing off their city.
“I wanted people to feel like they had an opportunity that they would never have gotten if they hadn’t become a part of this.”
In just a year, Albert put together 25 instameets. He’s passionate about the benefit these have for both people and organizations who participate. You should join him and the Philly ‘gramming gang on their next adventure by staying tuned to his page and awaiting his next big announcement.