Instagram post

Instagram evolves again

Wasn’t it just a few months ago when Instagram turned smartphone photography on its head by opening the platform up to Android users?

Now they’re turning the social media sphere on its head again by moving to web-based profiles. Until this week, one could only access Instagram on the web with a very basic platform, unable to like or comment on the photos.

Some web-based viewers, like Webstagram, started to pop up but once Facebook bought the little photo startup, you had to know Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t take too kindly to someone drafting off his heat.

And mobile purists don’t like the move.

“The trouble is that Facebook is not understanding part of what made Instagram ‘cool’ in the first place,” says Forbes contributor Eric Jackson. “Web isn’t cool any more. Mobile is.”

OK, sure. Mobile is the way of the land. If you’re a business with the slightest bit of interactivity and you aren’t working on your mobile app, you’re about three years behind the times.

But maybe Jackson and his ilk have missed this niggling little fact: more than 40 per cent of brands surveyed by Simply Measured in August have adopted Instagram as part of their marketing plan.

Since the survey, brand adoption has jumped to 54% adoption rate as of Nov. 1.

Money talks.

Zuckerberg and Facebook will bow to what brands with deep pockets want. After all, the test profile page for Instagram’s web debut was Nike’s.

Me? I like it. After all, a lot of people still view Instagram photos on a web browser by finding them on our Twitter feeds. Why not make the experience pretty for them, too?

The photos on the bar at the top rotate, always giving a page visitor a fresh look at my most recent shots of Shep, beautiful scenery and — yawn — what I made for dinner.

If you’re logged into your Instagram account, you can like photos and comment on them, a convenient access route for people who burn through their mobile’s battery power in a few scant hours.

And it’s a much easier way to grab a shot and use its HTML code for embedding in blog posts. You know … like this:

Oh, now you’re shocked I didn’t use a picture of Shep. OK, wait …

Whew … there, that feels better.

Now don’t worry, mobile users, there’s no need to get too knotted up in your knickers.

While Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says further web functionality is on its way, mobile remains the company’s priority.

“We’re not going to add web uploading, we’re still primarily mobile focused,” Systrom told TechCrunch. “This is doing what’s good for users. Right now Instagram is really contained to the mobile phone. We grew to 100 million users on mobile alone, so this is perfectly timed now that we’ve built a critical mass of users. Now it’s time to share Instagram with the broader world.”

After all, the more the merrier, right?

Hmmm … sometimes anyway.


instagram 3

Picture fun time

Let’s get one thing straight right off the hop.

Instagram sucks.

For picture quality.

The filters do nothing to create a ‘great’ photo. On most occasions, they ruin a decent photo … as decent as one can take with her phone (ahem … my pretty new Samsung Galaxy SII is an 8MP; that’s even better than my old Nikon D40 DSLR).


Shep at Crowsnest Pass with no filter:

Shep with some lame soft filter:

Pretty Spokane flowering tree blown out by some other lame filter:

Here’s the funny part of it all: I freakin’ love Instagram and its lame filters.

I know. Now you’re confused.

This little photo app used to be an Apple exclusive. I kept seeing friends like Chelsea posting to Instagram post Picture Fun Time to Facebook and Twitter and seethe with a tiny bit of jealousy.

Meanwhile, I’m an Android girl. I had to email a picture to Twitpic, then open the picture up all over again and share it to Facebook.

Twice the time, half the fun.

In March, Instagram announced it was getting ready to release an Android version.

Yippee skippy!

I signed up for the email alert so I could be an early adopter … OK, as early as any Androider could be. After all, all those Apple snobs were already ensconced (and many, might I add, were totally bitter about their new-found Instaholic friends).

The app was released early morning, April 3. I waited patiently until I got home, knowing  I promised on another blog platform that Shep would be a star.

Taking pictures with a phone is different than with my big heavy Nikon gear — and don’t ever let anyone tell you it isn’t.

It’s not the creative release I find when I’m hunting abandoned cars and old barns.

It’s candid. It’s goofy. I add filters and destroy pictures in ways that I never would on Photoshop.

People take pictures of their adorable pets, their dinner, their shoes and themselves.

Guilty, guilty, guilty and guilty.

It adds another layer — a subset, if you will — to the community of wonderful people I’ve found on Twitter. We “like” and comment on each other’s photos, when they otherwise might get lost in the vacuum of noise.

And it’s easy.

It’s one share, one time, hitting both Facebook and Twitter.

Twice the fun, half the time.