This article was originally written by me on The Platform Blog.
As an avid, but amateur, photographer, Instagram was like a dream come true when it hit the app store in late-2010 as an iPhone-only service. It gave me, and millions of others, a chance to share our creations like never before.
Alongside individuals, Instagram has given brands and corporate organisations a fabulous opportunity to exploit a social media channel with a huge audience reach and instant share-ability across existing Twitter and Facebook profiles.
Fast forward 21 months to the present day and the Instagram machine tells a completely different story. It now has over 50 million users and over 1 billion photos uploaded in total (that’s over 5 million every single day).
However, there have been four major developments that have dramatically changed the Instagram offering; but for better or worse?
- Instagrammers can now login to their account and access photos via the web, a functionality that should, in theory, increase the likelihood of ‘likes’ and comments. With a website refresh, and a transfer to a Tumblr blogging format, Instagram is attempting to appeal to the mainstream, but we’ll soon find out whether this suits their dedicated hipster-army in time.
- For all the community managers out there, Hootsuite have announced that they’ve added Instagram (and Slideshare) to their list of social networks. This means we can now line-up our photos (pre-tagged, of course) and post them at an optimum time of day. But does this mean that the ‘perfect’ time, deemed when most users are online, will now become a saturated mess and have a white-noise effect?
- For those that like their privacy settings on, they might be concerned to know that Instagram recently had a few issues with data and that a mysterious ‘bug’ infiltrated the servers to expose everything – private or not. In the spirit of being sociable, transparency is a key issue online – but it’d be nice to have a choice, right?
- And finally, it seems that some of the most popular #tags have been deleted by Instagram with no official announcement made as to why. This is long been a tactic by those of us who crave ‘likes’ to use common hashtags in our posts, to build resonance with our creations. But now #iPhone, #iPhone4, #Instagram and the like have all been removed. My guess is that it’s to do with the sudden influx of Android users in an attempt to level the playing field, perhaps? Or a Facebook decision…
However, as a long-term user, I can see the wider value of Instagram. It’s my platform to share my visual thoughts. It’s also a great way for brands and corporate organisations to engage and connect with a creative audience in a new environment. Exciting, powerful stuff.