All this talk today about Instagram adding video and how that is going to ruin it reminded me of all the talk about Facebook acquiring Instagram and how that was going to ruin it. It didn’t just in case you were wondering. Also it reminds me of that Instagram added Android devices and how that was going to ruin it. Hell, remember when people remarked that Instagram changed some filters and how it was going to ruin it?
Let’s go over that again.
- Did filter changes ruined Instagram? — No
- Did adding Android ruin Instagram? — No
- Did Facebook’s acquisition ruin Instagram? — No
- Will the addition of video ruin Instagram? — No
Instagram adding video is not an Instagram decision. It isn’t about expanding features within the app answering a feature request from its 100 million users. It’s simply about Facebook’s continued battle with Twitter as the dominant social network.
They battled over acquiring Instagram, Twitter lost. Twitter births Vine as a response (6 seconds long video service, no filters) so Facebook’s natural response is to add video to Instagram (3 to 15 seconds long video with filters). This just a week after Facebook added hashtags, a Twitter staple, to their network. Don’t even get me started on URL shorteners, Google+ and “firehoses.”
The two social networks would do better to differentiate themselves than attempt to directly compete. They are each successes not because of the similarities they share but the contradistinctions they’ve built into their systems. Success is found by expanding the gap between your competition, not by closing that gap. Instagram will not be ruined by video (as long as they do it right, see Vine). That’s the wrong argument with which to concern techno/hipster/social media pundits on the net.
Contrarily, Facebook Poke exists to challenge SnapChat and look who lost that war. After Facebook released Poke, which it says it wrote in 12 days, SnapChat’s marketshare actually grew. Since then Facebook Poke has fallen 87.5% among iPhone users in the U.S.
Video on Instagram will close a multimedia gap between filtered photos and videos but it will do little else including “ruining” Instagram. It’s less a risk of ruining Instagram than it is a sign that Facebook has lost its vision. All of this coming from an Instagram curmudgeon.
Now I leave you with The INSTAGRAM Song (Put A Filter On Me):