I am a big fan and user of Instagram. It knocked Twitter of the post as the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning (well… technically turning off my alarm clock is still the first thing I do).
Instagram is changing and some of the changes I, in jest, pretended to be against on shaky grounds of snobbism such as letting non-iPhone users in, while others I genuinely feel have created an inferior version of the product like replacing geotagging with a map.
However, I can’t quite make up my mind on the new Instagram Web Profiles and here’s why:
Why Instagram Web Profiles is a BAD idea
Instagram was the cool kid on the social media block when it arrived. Appearing out of nowhere and only for an exclusive club of iPhone users who wanted to share what they saw when they saw it. Arrogant enough to be a “mobile first” social network with a complete disregard for the old-fashion way of doing things by not even having a web version.
The exclusivity was diluted by introducing non-iPhone users, but alright; They can be cool mobile photo journalists too.
Then Facebook bought Instagram! We all use Facebook, not because Facebook is cool; we use it because it is there, it is what everybody uses (even granddads), it is the lowest common denominator for social interaction online!
But let’s face it: Facebook joining Instagram is like parents joining their teenager’s party.
The problem is that with each of these steps Instagram takes to be more accessible to the mass market, they become less and less cool. The Instagram Web Profiles is another step in that direction.
Why Instagram Web Profiles is a GOOD idea
When I first started out using Instagram I didn’t get the coolness of being a “mobile first”, and actually a “mobile exclusive”, social network. It annoyed me there wasn’t a web version because without a web version, how are you going to promote your Instagram profile on other online profiles?
I’ve been using Webstagram but using third-party tools is always at the risk of a less joint up user experience.
As mentioned above, the recent steps taken by instagram (selling to Facebook being the biggest) is attempts to “cross the chasm” from the early adopters to mass market as Geoffrey A. Moore describes it in his book “Crossing the Chasm”. And this is a healthy approach if Instagram is to be profitable.
The Instagram Web Profile also opens up for the possibility of becoming a web app rather than having to rely on developing native apps for different mobile OS.
At the end of the day…
Instagram is evolving; I miss how it was a smaller, more exclusive social network, but I accept that it is a business and it needs to take steps in order to be profitable.