|Why is Everyone Else Mad at Instagram Lately?
By: Melody Weister
A few weeks ago, when I wrote an article concerning my thoughts about how “phoneography” was ruining photography, I wouldn’t say it was met with a warm response by all. In fact, most iPhone Instagram users, despite my attempts to curtail the potential for backlash, were outraged anyway. People told me that I didn’t know what art really was, and proved it by showing me creative pictures of socks, cutlery, desk fans, etc. So what happened recently that suddenly has iPhone users’ outrage directed away from Instagram critics and toward Instagram itself? In case you haven’t been following the news lately, here is a quick rundown on the two major changes to Instagram that have the iPhone community up in arms.
First was the release of Instagram for Android, a few weeks after my article was published. Android users had made do without Instagram until its release, but most had an interest in downloading it just to see why it caused so much hype. In fact, I downloaded it. I did like the sharing capabilities. I was disappointed by some other things, but my thoughts on Instagram stand. I enjoy the fact that it’s basically the Tumblr of photo-sharing, but I still don’t think choosing from one of 15 pre-made filters is going to make an artist of me. And while camera and photo-editing apps like Camera 360 and Pixlr-O-Matic are better for photo editing, nothing beats the community feel of Instagram. (Let’s get on that, other camera apps.)
Did iPhone users react to the wise marketing decision of Instagram with open arms? Not exactly. In fact, BuzzFeed featured several posts from iPhone users who were openly “disgusted” by the release of this app. Posts by some of my iPhone user friends on Instagram itself said things like, “I thought I was getting popular on Instagram but then I realized the Android app came out for all your broke asses. [sic]” Other people insinuated that Android users (who, let’s face it, were doing perfectly fine without 15 extra filters to add to their photos) were going to “ruin Instagram.” Overall, it was a chilly reception, and a few individuals apparently even said they were no longer going to use the app anymore.
Following that incident, less than a week later, Facebook purchased Instagram, a six-person development team, for one billion dollars. And again, the cries of outrage and disdain were heard across the nation as thousands upon thousands of Instagram users threw their hands up and said, “Really? Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous.”
But is it, really, all that ridiculous? I mean, I agree that Mark Zuckerberg’s neurotic fear of anything coming close to Facebook’s notoriety in terms of a social network is a bit over the top, and spending $1 billion on a six-person team is a little excessive, but you can’t blame Instagram for that. If you were the CEO of a free app that had exploded in popularity and someone offered you a cool billion dollars to partner with them, would you say no?
I never thought I’d find myself defending Instagram, but the amount of outrage directed their way lately is entirely unnecessary. Not one of the decisions for which they’ve taken so much heat has been anything other than intelligent marketing and smart business sense. Expand your user base to the most widely used OS that doesn’t currently have access to your app, which is already insanely popular? Intelligent marketing. Partner with the slightly neurotic boy genius who’s offering you a billion dollars for your little company? Smart business sense. Rather than chastising Instagram, we should be examining their business model to figure out what makes a small team of developers worth a billion dollars in a little less than two years. Hats off to you, Instagram team, you’ve done well for yourselves.
Melody Weister is a technology aficionado, unashamed smartphone geek, and casual gamer from Montclair, NJ, where she works as a Social Media Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter: @msmelodyrose.
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