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Everyone copies Instagram, and Instagram copies Everyone

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9 November 2012

The world of filter-photos is on fire. This week it transpired that both Twitter and Facebook have been working on photo filters to help us prettify our photos.

At the same time Instagram launched Web profiles. This is the first serious step by the mobile-only app to move into Web territory and it opens up to a much bigger audience of photographers and brands on the platform. Others can now view your Instagram photos online without having an account and Web profiles will make it easier to discover new content and people to follow.

Miista's Instagram profileFor now the functionality is limited to profiles; you don’t get an aggregated photo stream of the people you follow like in the mobile version. But with Facebook owning Instagram, predictions are ripe that a closer integration between the two is on the way.

Just as Facebook launched filters in iOS 5.1 , rumours leaked that Twitter is also about to add filters on their mobile app. With photo filters directly in your Twitter app, you will be able to bypass Instagram entirely if you want to share filtered images on Twitter. The user experience will be different, though. Instagram as a native mobile app is built for mobile use and browsing images only, with the occasional commenting. On Twitter you will (still) need to click a link in a stream of text to view an image. It’s a different user experience, for an audience engaged in a different kind of use flow and mindset. Take that into account when deciding what you want to use image sharing on either platform for.

Clearly the lines are being drawn for the future of social photo platforms. Even Coca Cola wants in on the action, as they are getting ready to launch their own photo-sharing service ‘Happy Places’.

Coca-Cola's Happy Places

So what to make of this if you’re a brand toying with Instagram, or other photo-sharing ideas?

Instagram is still a unique visual social platform with a daily user activity rate that competes with Twitter stats. It’s a beautiful visual storytelling tool for brands. And it just got better. The new web feature will facilitate more user engagement as your profile gives you a landing page on the Web and makes you more discoverable. So get snapping. No doubt there is much more to come.

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