For years Facebook has dominated the world of social media; it has had a direct impact on millions of people’s interaction and social activity globally. A true pioneer and driver of social media through its innovative platform, Facebook has remained unrivalled in terms of direct competitors. Earlier this year, Instagram was acquired for $1bn. This incredible sum showed to the world the value of ‘rich’ content i.e. images and video; are the days of written content dominating over? Not quite yet but Instagram has tapped in to human activity like no other social networking platform has been able to. Twitter led the real-time update movement that has proved to be unbelievably popular and Instagram has been the photo-taking and instant editing app of choice for people sharing media across other platforms.
A reason for the growth of Instagram as a tool and social media platform potentially comes from the ‘talk is cheap’ notion. Anyone can say anything on the internet and it is often hard to verify whether they are genuine or not. It’s a lot harder to lie in a photo. All users have a purpose to use social networking sites whether it to be communicate with friends, meet new people or to promote their own interests. A tweet saying, ‘just shook Obama’s hand’ is significantly less likely to attention than a picture of you actually doing this and tweeting that instead. Humans like to show off and that is why Instagram is becoming so popular. Right? Well, that’s one potential influencing factor but I believe the strongest factor is the ever-growing use of smart phones.
Love them or hate them, smart phones are incredible pieces of technology. If you see something you think people who you interact with on social networking sites while you are out and about then you can take a picture, make a witty comment and get it out there within a matter of seconds! Pictures can tap in to emotions in a way that words alone cannot. If you look at the most shared content on the internet it is dominated by images and videos; take ‘Fenton chasing deer’ and ‘Charlie bit my finger’ as classic examples of this. Can you think of a 148 character tweet that has got anywhere near that level of intention?
Accessibility, ease, interest and ultimately demand mean that Instagram is on to a serious winner by becoming the portal by which photos are taken are shared. Imgur is testament to the demand for images in 2012 and there are no signs of it declining. The written word is far from dead but images really do tell a thousand words which is convenient when you only have 148 characters to get your point across.