Posts Tagged ‘google plus’

Could Facebook buying Instagram be Flickr’s biggest opportunity?

Posted on: April 10th, 2012 by Fransgaard 4 Comments

Yesterday Facebook bought Instagram!

Being a digital professional, I normally try to remain neutral to industry news like this, but I love my Instagram account so my reaction was… less controlled.

Why did I react this way? How had Instagram become the first network I check in the morning in favour of my good old friend Twitter?

It’s all in mobile sharing

I’m not a photographer but I post photos from my iPhone to share the moment in an instant or a thought before it is gone. There were already photo sharing services, but none did what I really needed:

  • My Facebook is limited to close friends and being worried about Facebook’s use of data I really only use it as a glorified messaging system.
  • I am a Flickr Pro user but was never a fan of Flickr’s iPhone app partly because of the interface and partly because of it’s difficulty sharing to other social networks.
  • Twitter image services such as YFrog provided the speed and integration I wanted but I feared losing the photos by scattering photos all over the internet.

Then Instagram came offering a fast, mobile-optimized user experience; Sharing options to lots of other social networks (allowing me to save photos to Flickr) and a lovely community to boot.

Why I am worried about Facebook buying Instagram

From a business point-of-view I can see the logic of Facebook buying Instagram as they stepped onto Facebook turf and did it better and Google are probably kicking themselves for not getting there first.

But from a user’s point of view I am not really keen on this for several reasons:

  • What will Facebook do with my Instagram data? If you are not paying for the product, you are the product and Facebook is good at selling you.
  • What will Facebook do with Instagram? Both parties are keen to stress that Instagram will continue as Instagram, but Facebook is notorious for buying start-ups,  dismantling them and reallocating their employees.
  • What will happen with the Instagram user experience? Ads everywhere, suggested users, games, pokes, screwed up timelines, integration with Spotify… Worst case scenario is a user experience drowned in “helpful” services.
  • Instagram exclusivity gone. Like it or not, Instagram had a alluring “members only” feel to it. It was only iPhone, it was only mobile. Facebook is the general public online and now Instagram will open its doors potentially losing the magic in the process… Yes, I’m a closet Apple snob I guess.

The opportunity for other photo-sharing networks.

According to this Mashable poll, people don’t like it but will they act? Will they follow Next Web’s guide to deleting Instagram accounts?

Users are dependant on Instagram in the same way as they are dependant on Facebook as a way to stay in touch with close friends, but even so it may only be a small elitist group of people who will be jumping ship here and now, because where should they go if they left Instagram?

This is a massive opportunity for established networks such as Flickr and Tumblr and for new ones such as Path, maybe even Google+. It all comes down to who can match Instagram’s great mobile user experience… right here and now, none of them can.

What will I do?

Personally I don’t feel like using Instagram anymore at the time of writing this, but I will keep my account… possibly deleting all images if I can find an easy way to do it to avoid Facebook’s data harvester.

But I will be looking for a new candidate to take over and looking at how the Flickr iPhone app has been evolving over the last year I am pleasantly surprised to see an option to share on Twitter.

Is the non-digital native generation missing the real value of Generation C’s user generated content?

Posted on: September 20th, 2011 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

Often when I go to digital events and conferences I can help but wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and scream “I TOLD YOU SO!” in the faces of those who were adamant that the Internet was a toy and a fad.

Alas, I don’t have a time machine. But some times events happens that makes me think that I am doing the same mistake now as these non-believers did back then.


Such an event happened at SalesForce‘s recent CloudForce conference here in London where I joined a break-out session by the social sentiment company Radian6.  The presenter wanted to show how the Radian6 product helps companies filter social comments and identify the ones with the “loudest megaphone”. He proceeded to show a YouTube entry made by a beautiful young woman going by the screen name “JuicyStar07”.


When the presenter said the words “JuicyStar07” there were several semi-naughty grins from the audience who assigned some sexually charged undercurrents to her screen name and the presenter was quick to state that the video was PG.

The presenter continued to play the video in which JuicyStar07 was talking about her Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 bag and he brought to our attention that the video had received a stunning 2,000,000 views significantly more than the audience of most printed publications. Think about that for a second: More views than most newspapers have readers! How’s that for reach and influence?

Everybody instantly sobered up. No more naughty winks from the audience and we all realised the sheer scale of the reach this single video have. The presenter then posed the question: Shouldn’t Luis Vuitton reach out to JuicyStar07?

It highlights how easy it is to miss the real value of content produced by digital natives simply because of the presumptions we project on to what we see. We saw a young person seemingly rambling on about fashion nonsense. But the truth is not only does she know what she’s talking about, she also has a large crowd of loyal followers who are naturally suspicious and  largely immune to traditional advertising. She is the future of product promotion.

Is the Google+ common name policy missing the value as well?

Is the name “JuicyStar07” intended to be sexually charged? I don’t know. Maybe it was when she came up with the screen name, who knows?. Fact is: It does not matter. 

What matters is that changing her screen name would be PR suicide and I am convinced she is aware of this. Some of her fans may not recognise her as Blair Fowler but they all know and want JuicyStar07.

These were my thoughts at the time. I’ve since learned she is blogging under her real name as well but it still raises yet another issue with the whole utopian Google+ real name policy which my colleague Rick Mans has covered in another blog post. Sufficient here is to ask: Do Google really want to risk losing somebody like JuicyStar07 and her 2,000,000 views in a crusade to force them to use their real name?