Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram makes perfect business sense. In theory. In practice? It’s a whole big mess. It’s based on the premise that all Instagram users like Facebook – which is far from reality. Instagram users are seriously fretting about Facebook’s reach:
Instagram has attracted more than 31 million users in less than two years. Its near-cult-like early followers were loyal iPhone users who flocked to the app for its ease-of-use, its playful filters that can make even boring photos look artistic, and its lack of ads, status updates and other clutter.
In other words, the exact opposite of Facebook. It’s akin to your best friend marrying THAT guy.
It’s a win for Facebook. And a huge loss for Instagram.
Besides filters, here are a few others reasons why Facebook bought Instagram:
1. Big Data
Big data is one of the main reasons many Instagram users are saying buh-bye. Data has characterized the Information Age since the beginning. But never more so than today. After all, “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.” From location to time of day, Facebook can now access detailed information that was previously unavailable on Instagram. Targeted ads? Absolutely. Automatic geo-tagging of Instagram images? It could very well happen. Facebook owning the rights to your Instagram photos? Potentially. If you’re one of the many users who want to delete your Instagram account, here’s how to do it while saving your pics.
2. The Story.
Instagram tells the story that Facebook never could. Instagram pictures are much more mindful than those Facebook ones. You know the ones I’m talking about. In the obnoxious online world that screams in our faces everyday, Instagram is that rare medium where we can seek solace and tranquility. Stories are told with simplicity and elegance. It breaks new ground because it’s built on using quality content to share stories that are personal yet universal. Jack Shafer calls this place “post-verbal, post-textual.”
Instagram is the quiet train of the digital world. It’s the secret haven where artists and creatives went to tell their story. Their stories were filled with vision, sadness, hope, and triumph. Then Facebook entered the proverbial “picture.”
3. The Emotion
Instagram has what Facebook lost over the years: Emotion. True laughter is difficult to achieve in the digital world these days. One of my friends recently revealed:
“Before Facebook, if I read something really funny I would laugh. Now I just click the “Like” button without changing my facial expression at all.”
Whoa, slow down soldier. In only the few years that Facebook has been around, we’ve transformed from LOLing with real emotion to…clicking “Like” with no emotion?
It’s quite the opposite on Instagram. True, raw emotion overflows. Facebook bought what it lacked.
Instagram is proof that a mobile-only social network is achievable. With Instagram’s announcement last week that the app is now available to Android users, we had a feeling big things were in the works. Think about it: Facebook users can only upload their photos. Instagram users can do both: capture and upload. Facebook needs Instagram’s mobile audience to remain relevant. Not a surprise.
5. Ease of use.
Instagram is flat-out easy peasy to use. Facebook mobile? Not so much.
6. A loyal fanbase of engaged users.
Instagram is brimming with creative people who live with passion. Scrolling through photo streams on Instagram can sometimes reveal more about a person than his or her Facebook timeline. Instagram’s user engagement compared to Facebook is night and day (for all of the reasons listed above). So don’t get it twisted. The $1 billion Facebook spent is really the cost of millions of users for a few bucks each.
What do you think about Facebook buying Instagram? Will you continue to use it? Or is Facebook too distrusting and invasive for you to stick around? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
And if you’re sticking around on Instagram, feel free to follow me over there @itsjessicann.