Facebook has bought Instagram for $1 billion. But
how did the smartphone app get to 30 million users in less than 2 years and,
consequently, catch the eye of Mark Zuckerberg?
It’s A Social Network
Instagram is a social network in and of itself. You
can follow Instagram users and have your photo liked or commented on by other
users. Although Facebook allows you to share photos, it does not have a
community built solely around photo sharing. Yahoo bought Flickr for $35
million, which now has about 50 million members.
On the surface, Facebook looks to have mightily
overpaid. At the same time, Instagram is a smartphone app and Facebook is well
aware that sharing pictures through smartphones is going to get exponentially popular
in the future.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram allows you to share
photos with one click. A photo sharing app with Photoshop-like filters may not
seem like much, but Apple voted it “App of the Year” for 2011.
The days of people sharing physical photographs
are over, yet Instagram’s popularity shows that people still miss the special
feel that only physical photos have. Instagram is like Kodak and Polaroid,
mimicking its square photos, albeit in digital form.
It Has Connections
On launch day, Jack Dorsey tweeted the app to his 1
million followers. Shortly thereafter, the apps ease of use captured the
attention of Apple executive Phil Schiller, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez.
You can easily share your photo on Facebook and/or
Facebook doesn’t care about Instagram not having a
business model from which to generate revenue. It cares about being the top dog
in social networking, which it boldly proclaimed by buying the photo sharing