Whoever has a smartphone would have to completely avoid visiting the Apple App Store or Google Play not to be tempted to install Instagram for free. Since it debuted for the iPhone in October of 2010, this photo taking and sharing app has almost reached an "Angry Birds" level of popularity.
It seems evident that Android smartphone users were so jealous of the Apple crowd's exclusivity to this application that once it appeared on Google Play a few weeks ago, it recorded over a million downloads on the first day. The download counter then quickly passed five million in the first week of Instagram's availability for Android.
How did such a frenzy come about over this, actually, quite banal social network, that's only available via smartphone? Perhaps the secret is that Instagram gives us the option of feeling like professional photographers, or it has made us use the camera on our smartphones more often than we normally would. Or perhaps it's simply because the application is just ingenious and entertaining.
Either way, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that Instagram is turning into a new Internet frenzy, i.e. the fastest growing social network since Facebook and Twitter, and this will even be reflected on things that aren't directly related to the application. Mostly, the popularity of platforms that it's available on. This is, apart from Angry Birds, the first application that is in the position to make someone actually want to purchase a specific device (i.e. a mobile operating system) just because of it.
Furthermore, Instagram largely affects the future development of the camera market; why buy a special compact camera when we can now take amazing photographs with neat filters and a 'family' Polaroid format by clicking our cell phone? Not to mention that it is possible to instantly show off the work to our friends and others who follow us in this network, or on Twitter. Or on Facebook.
Thus, Instagram also affects smartphone manufacturers who have it in their best interest to equip their products with quality cameras. In time, with this app on Android, we have a whole line of new smartphones with fantastic cameras that surpass the quality of the iPhone 4S, like the entire HTC One series.
Finally, Instagram is a last shot for various community managers, experts, analysts and others to obtain new positions because, with such a soar in user numbers, it's only a matter of time when it will become recognized as an exceptionally trendy and suitable platform for on-line marketing. The advertising industry will take on Instagram sooner or later.
Due to all this, it is not the least bit surprising that Facebook has decided to buy this small San Francisco company, founded just two years ago with just a dozen employees, for an impressive amount of one billion dollars. The 30 million users which Instagram has attained in its first year and a half of existence guarantee potential profit from the company. The numbers may not be that impressive, but, once again, this is currently the fastest growing social network and will, clearly, continue this dramatic increase.
It turns out that Facebook is prepared to pay 33 dollars for each existing Instagram user and has, undoubtedly, assessed it will make more than this per every user. Not necessarily by placing ads through Instagram, but by creating the power and influence on various branches of the currently most lucrative markets.
Still, be sure to enjoy this network that enables you to take better photographs than 'real' photographs, before the advertising industry comes down on Instagram like it has on Facebook and Twitter, and while it is still in its sweetest, virginal stage of development.
For the last fifteen years, Dragan Petric (www.draganpetric.com) has been working as an IT journalist, editor and analyst, with special interests in telecommunication technologies and services. In addition, he authored five books and published over 2,500 articles in many magazines and newspapers in Europe. He has attended about 30 telecommunications and IT congresses around the world and won several journalists awards for his work.
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