The mobile device application Instagram has become one of the most creative and popular apps around today for smartphone users. I can vouch for this as I am also a frequent Instagram user and am obsessed! My friends and I will rarely take pictures on our iPhones without using the app to enhance them in some way. Instagram was worth about $100 million a year ago and is now valued at $500 million according to professional venture investors. The application enables users to take or upload pictures and apply fun effects to those pictures. The coolest part about the app is the effects it offers. You can transform a picture’s coloring to feel vibrant, vintage, or old school. It makes for a very easy way to put a creative twist on mobile pictures. One of the most unique qualities to Instagram is the community it creates within its application. It is a place where people could share their love for simply photos and nothing more.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg bought out Instagram for around a billion dollars, which is double what it is currently deemed worth. Zuckerberg explained the decision by stating in his own blog that, “This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many using…we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together” (Gigaom). But one must stop and question whether that was truly the reasoning behind Facebook’s purchase. Om Malik for Gigaom argued that the real reason was the fact that Instagram was growing into a legitimate competitor for Facebook. It was dedicated to solely pictures and capitalized on mobile photo sharing, something Facebook lacked in. Om explained this weakness in mobile photo sharing by stating, “…Facebook’s mobile platform is mediocre at best. Why? Facebook is not a mobile-first company and they don’t think from the mobile-first perspective… [Instagram] cracked the code where Facebook itself failed: viral growth on mobile” (Gigaom).
So how are the Instagram users reacting to all of this? Some are accepting of the buy out; however, others feel the vast social media company will ruin the app’s originality by conforming it to their social media site and taking away the creative pictorial community within solely Instagram. One user tweeted, “I liked #instagram when it was stupid pictures and filters NOT a #facebook data collector—so I quit” (The New York Times). One Instagram user from China expressed her concern that since Facebook is blocked by the Chinese government, then the buy out might end up blocking Instagram as well. Overall, Zuckerberg’s purchase could definitely cost the company a significant amount of Instagram users.
I think the best way for Facebook to own Instagram, but also maintain the app’s originality, would be to not alter anything about that app that would jeopardize the current picture-based community. Instagram has created a source for all sorts of people to put feeling and depth into mobile sharing. It would truly be a shame if the application lost the purpose it was created upon.
Instagram: Fun Facts.
- Facebook Buys Out Instagram (theprbuzz.wordpress.com)
- Dirty South Wine: Instagram (dirtysouthwine.com)
- Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion | #Facebook #Instagram #socialmedia (sanajt.wordpress.com)
- Instaport allows you to download all your Instagram photos as a Zip file (thetechblock.com)
- Instagram (kaylaeiten.wordpress.com)
- Instagram Bought By Facebook (slog.thestranger.com)
- Facebook buys Instagram for US$1bn (seeker401.wordpress.com)
- Export your photos from Instagram with instaport.me (cdevroe.com)
- Instagram + Facebook (instagram.com)