InstaGRIM: The decline of Instagram
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 00:04
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday that the social networking site would acquire the hip photo sharing application Instagram and its 13 employees for $1 billion. The popular smartphone app allows its 30 million users to snap pictures and apply filters to present a breathtaking image. Now, we’ve all seen an Instagram picture done right, and it can be awesome, but done wrong and it looks like a JuCo girl who played around with a Destin spring break picture on Picnik. The worst example is the Instagrammed photo at the bar. Seriously, what filter is that? Beer Goggles? Keep it classy, Hattiesburg. But Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram comes way too soon after Instagram launched its app for the Android market. Prior to the launch, Instagram was solely available to iPhone users. Perhaps the move comes as Google acquired Picnik for Google Plus. As expected, hipsters everywhere are pissed…as they should be.
I am not usually one to argue for snobbery, but Facebook has crossed the line. The fact is that Facebook used to be such a good, beautiful thing. Like Instagram, Facebook was once valued for its exclusivity. You could not have a Facebook unless you had a college email address authenticating your account. But now any tween, pastor, employer and pregnant woman with a sonogram profile picture (go away, please) can have a Facebook account. Being hip is an economic theory much like supply and demand: the fewer the supply, the more demand, and the cooler your product is. Now that Facebook and Android have gotten their hands on Instagram, the cool factor can only decline. Although Facebook has pledged that Instagram will remain an independent force separate from Facebook, I fear that promise will be broken at the expense of a glimpse into the privacy of our personal lives. Take for example how the new Social Reader app on Facebook bleeds into Timeline. This app shares to Facebook what stories our friends are reading without their permission. It is not really necessary to keep up with our friends once they have logged off of Facebook, but I’m glad to know you can read.
To resurrect the hip factor of Instagram, the solution is for users to decrease the amount of pictures they share with Facebook. This will require users to create value for their pictures. The benefits will be fewer pictures of your food, but seriously, it’s just Lucky Charms cereal. Everyone eats cereal; it’s not quirky. Stop trying to make quirky happen. Share with us something that describes you as an individual and take pictures of the great moments in your life. Let’s get Facebook out of the sepia-colored picture.