There was a time when we relied on studio professionals to click mind-blowing pictures or required extensive knowledge of Adobe Photoshop at our end to beautify our existing photographs. With changing times where the electronic devices are increasingly diminishing in size, a social media phenomenon has been the photo app, Instagram. Instagram offers a fast, less techy but intuitive way to make your regular photograph look like a professional piece of art. So what made the start-up experiment by Stanford University graduates turn into a $1 billion …Oops, $747 million acquisition valued today by social media giant, part of everyone’s daily routine, Facebook?
Co-founder and lead engineer Mike Kreiger explains the reason for Instagram becoming an instant hit , was the pace at which photos could be uploaded and streamed. In today’s rapid and mobile age it is crucial to show instant results in order to sustain an average user’s attention span. The reason for their fast uploads is that it starts uploading a picture as soon as it is clicked even before selecting a filter, unlike other apps that wait for an image to be processed or tagged before uploading. Today, Instagram boasts of having more than 80 million users that actively engage, upload and comment on pictures. It was after the success story of Instagram that companies like Viddy and Lightbox saw tremendous recognition in this space. Of late however, Instagram has come under a lot of heat due to its lack of true journalistic qualities, with professional photographers that have spent blood, sweat and tears to master the art, complaining that Instagram gives everyone an opportunity with an iPhone or Android to be a “photographer.” Similar to overly Photoshopped images, Instagram filters have also been criticized by presenting traditionally photographed images in a deceptive light. The power of modifying a regular image by applying a filter has been wrongly utilized by some of its users because of whom, Instagram has had to take most of the flak. Recently, the Tumblr page,’Rich Kids of Instagram’, has slightly tainted Instagram’s image and reputation. This page shows off antics of young, reckless and spoilt rich kids that have been carried away by social media outrage to show off the world their “Father’s riches”. From posting Instagram modified pictures like showing a kid flying a jet-pack and a $100,000 receipt from a hotel in Saint-Tropez, to an image of kids dressed in tuxedos playing Champagne Pong. All of us are truly fascinated by wealth and fame, but retrospectively we also criticize those who are enjoying that kind of position in life. The need for engaging socially is so strongly adhered to that sharing such photos with your friends and followers, becomes falsely important. So who is to be blamed for this? The users, social media networks like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter or apps like Instagram? It is for you to deliberate and debate upon.
After acquisition of Instagram, Facebook also gobbled the development team of LightBox that allows Android users to click and share pictures over multiple social media channels. With such acquisitions, there had to be a ripple effect in the market and the company that wants to do everything (a.k.a Google, Inc.) recently acquired Nik Software which makes iOS photo sharing applications, Snapseed. Over $250 million that vanished because of Facebook’s poor performance on the stock exchange, has had a significant effect on Instagram. Co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, have been tirelessly working without Facebook’s help to add a new Photo Map of geo-located photos. On the other hand, Facebook has launched its own standalone app and redesigned its web and news feed to show larger images. While Instagram will help Facebook understand “mobile”, their combined efforts can sell location- targeted, in-feed ads on Instagram for businesses nearby where users snap photos. With the rise tablets and smartphone devices, and the power of social media, apps like Instagram stand a fair chance to create a niche for themselves.