Will Facebook destroy Instagram?

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Social Media  |  Worst Practices  |  Mobile applications  |  Facebook  |  Research and Analysis

IMG_1520I've talked before about why I love Instagram.

Instagram is a photo sharing application that makes it easy and fun to manipulate a photo with various filters and turn it into instant art. Then with a few clicks, you can share your photo with a caption via Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.

For example, a few days ago in Krakow, Poland I shot a mundane photo of some telephone booths with my iPhone and used Instagram to turn it into instant art.

Yesterday, Facebook announced a USD $1 billion acquisition of Instagram.

You can read the Facebook statement here.

I hope Facebook will not destroy Instagram

But I'm worried they will.

It seems to me that the big social players – Google, Facebook, and Twitter – are building walled gardens around their users in the exact same way that portals like Lycos, Excite, AOL, and Yahoo did a decade ago.

They hoard users and don't like to have hooks into each others' services.

Yes, I do understand that companies need to make money. I get that. Instagram's founders, employees, and investors deserve a payday.

How are Lycos, Excite, AOL, and Yahoo faring today??!!

Building walled gardens of Portal 2.0 is bad for users and ultimately leads to failure.

Here's more on this idea: Portal 2.0 take social backwards to the 1990s.

While the Zuck's statement says things won't change, I'm pessimistic.

  • I can imagine a day in the near future when you can no longer post Instagram directly to Twitter.
  • I'm also seeing a future where we are forced into the Facebook mobile app to use Instagram.
  • Or perhaps, just like Google not playing nice with Twitter, you won't be able to access Instagram from other social sites.

Read the Zuck's statement. Has he earned your trust? Do you believe him? Or if you are an Instagram fanboy like me are you worried too?

My friend Ann Handley introduced me to Instagram. So went over to Ann's Twitter to see her take. "I love what she said: For many fans of Instagram, the news that Facebook is acquiring the photo-sharing mobile platform is a little like hearing that your best friend is engaged to that jerk. She might be thrilled. But you can’t help but feel a sense of doom about the whole arrangement." Here is Ann's thoughtful post.

What do you think? Are you worried like me and Ann? Or are we missing something?

Photo: Shot by David Meerman Scott near Krakow, Poland on an iPhone 4S and tweaked with Instagram. CC