If you have read social media news lately, you would have seen that Facebook has bought Instagram, the photo-sharing app, for 1 billion dollars. There have been mixed feelings about the acquisition, as the Facebook empire and the Instagram team are so different.
In his letter to Facebook subscribers, Zuckerberg says that he is “committed to building and growing Instagram independently.” This means that he will take on the talented team of ten or so employees and have them work hand in hand with Facebook. Another interesting aspect of the letter is that he says he will allow Instagram users to continue to post to other social networks. If you aren’t an Instagram user, you wouldn’t know that we can post our edited pictures to Twitter, Facebook, Email users, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and Foursquare with just the touch of a finger. In my opinion, this is what has made Instagram so popular. Since we users can edit photos to our liking, we should also be able to post them to whatever social network we want. Zuckerberg also stresses that the Facebook team is committed to keeping the sharing options alive and to continue to grow the Instagram “experience.”
People in my classes say that they are planning on cancelling their Instagram accounts for fear of change from the Facebook team. Some of my classmates fear that Instagram, a small company of approximately ten employees, will lose its creative direction, as is what happens with many other acquisitions, like the buying of OMGPOP by Zynga. OMGPOP is a very successful development company who brought us “Draw Something” for Apple and Android, and many people feel that OMGPOP will also lose their creative direction and unique experience. Facebook also recently gained control of Spotify, a music streaming service. At the moment, you can’t even sign up for Spotify without a Facebook profile, which is something that Instagram users fear will happen.
Other sources like CBS wonder why Facebook wanted to acquire Instagram in the first place, saying that they don’t know what Facebook would do with such a small company. The answer is simple: more people equals more money, which is sadly what companies are always looking for. However, the mere 30 million users of Instagram doesn’t compete with the 850 million Facebook users, some of which overlap with both Instagram and Facebook accounts.
All in all, I don’t think that Instagram stood a chance against a 1 billion dollar offer, yet I hope that Zuckerberg and his team keeps the uniqueness of the app alive. Besides, that is how the application got so popular in the first place. Even though creativity loss and changes are often part of a corporate deal, merger, of acquisition, I always hope that nothing will change. We will see how this plays out and what Facebook’s real interest is with Instagram in time. Until then, let’s hope we can continue sharing freely!