This week, Facebook announced it is to buy Instagram - for a billion dollars ($28 per user). Petty cash for a company soon to be IPO’d for around 100 billion ($118 per user), probably scratched around in the bottom of the cookie jar they use to save up for sushi lunches and decided to buy Instagram instead.
Instagram was launched in October 2010. From zero to a billion in less than 18 months, surely some kind of record?
I’m one of the three people on the planet who are not Facebook users but I was using Instagram and will continue to do so until the point where I have a few hundred new “friends” telling me they really like my last photo because it reminds them of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers track they heard that was attached to a Tweet that was bloged by a follower in Singapore who they have never met but seems nice so they’ve been stalking each other for months now. They’ve progressed as far as setting up apps that will automatically send each other virtual birthday cards.
You might have noticed. I can’t take all this stuff seriously. I mean just think of what genuine good could be achieved by the sensible application of a billion bucks. Instead of that we get an even harder to avoid and more sinister Facebook that can now track and manage even more of people’s daily lives plus we have to put up with the media hype that will surround the latest tech-mogul in the form of whoever founded Instagram – probably a 12 year-old in sneakers who still lives with mum. Well, I was close.
I mean on one level – good luck to them, but on the other – WTF is the world coming to! These things are interesting, sometimes useful even but a billion, a hundred billion are you serious? Given that many of these people seem to know each other pretty well are we sure this is not just some kind of big inside job?
Anyway, if you’ve never heard of Instagram, and I can’t blame you for that, it is an application originally for iPhone and recently for Android that allows you to take and share snaps easily. Perhaps riding the tail-end of the craze for Lomography where you can make an average photo look interesting, Instagram gives you the ability to easily apply a variety of filters to the snaps you take before sharing them. An example is below, one that I took at home on Easter Monday.
There is something about it I like. Me, Zuckerberg and a few million others! I think it’s the simplicity of being able to capture something quickly and easily, instantly share it with something, in my case my Flickr photostream combined with the fact that the filters allow you to make it look like at least a semi-worthwhile attempt at photography. The alternative of carrying a camera around, no matter how small and then plug into your computer, process and whatever seems like far more effort for, in most cases, no better end result.
I have found the photostream generated through Instagram an interesting addition to the more formal photos I put on Zenfolio. There is a strange attraction in the fact that they are casual, unimportant and so easy to produce. I suppose we will have to wait and see if Facebook manages to ruin all that.