So at the start of this year, I decided to challenge my brain a little bit, and was looking at various things that would have an impact over the next twelve months. I’ll share the others with you some other time. However, one of those ‘things’ was instagram.
I think I became a convert to instagram last year, on a (probably) boring Saturday fiddling with my new iPhone 4s. Having realised that I could actually take half decent photos (yes, of my cat), I thought ‘ooh – what shall I do with this new found awesomeness?’ (and yes, I do say awesomeness – I’m a nerd people – keep up). Downloading instagram, I started playing around with the features, and lo! I actually looked like I knew what I was doing with a camera.
It would seem that I’m not the only one who’s caught onto how cool it is. Millions of users, brands actively using it as part of their campaigns (Levi’s, Burberry, Tiffany’s to name a few), and now in the last week, an Android version. It’s suddenly cool to share photos again.
Putting Flickr aside (which seems to have become the stomping ground for photographers with real talent), instagram has created a tool that is actually easy to use. Take a photo, zoom in a bit, put an arty ‘blur’ on it then pick a filter. Then upload and share. They’ve integrated with most of the social channels (now I’m seeing why Google+ hasn’t been included – they’re the black sheep of the social family it would seem) – so creating and sharing has never been so easy. I knew it was going to be big, I just didn’t appreciate how big.
Only today, well, today they kinda put a dampener on proceedings. Facebook have bought them for a very cool $1billion (said with a Dr Evil style little finger to my lips). Only it’s not funny. I mean – kudos to them – they’ve created something really cool, and it works. But – well – what now? Will they be allowed to remain on their little atol in the ocean of crap apps? or will they become part of the Facebook behemoth? I guess only time will tell.
The thing that I would be most concerned about, is how socially people perceive the app to be. There seems to be a certain kind of, well, social etiquette on there. Much like twitter, it’s there to share with people, there’s a freedom to it which made it more like twitter and less like Facebook. It just seems fundamentally wrong that they would even allow you to make your photos private – I mean – what’s the point? (yes, I tried it, it just seemed wrong somehow) just stick them on Facebook if you’re going to be… oh wait – they’re now part of Facebook… So what are the rules of being ‘socially’ acceptable on instagram, or Facebook, or, well – any of them? To be considered another day perhaps…