“Now you can almost curate your whole experience based on the images you see online, and it’s an unnatural approach to travel. It makes me wonder what happened to exploration.”
The point of life is not to put dog ears on yourself and post it online for everyone to see. It’s fun, it’s adorable, but it’s the visual equivalent of masturbating—there’s no point other than immediate gratification.
Images sent between cellphones are on the rise as text messages continue to fall, according to CTIA, the trade association for the wireless industry. An industry report released this year said 2.19 trillion text messages were sent and received in 2012, about 5 percent less than a year earlier. In comparison, MMS, or multimedia messages that include photos and videos, grew by 41 percent to 74.5 billion in 2012.
In 2012, according to Pew Internet: Social Networking:
- 15% of online adults say they use Pinterest
- 13% of online adults say they use Instagram
- 6% of online adults say they use Tumblr
- 67% of online adults say they use Facebook
- 16% of online adults say they use Twitter
- 20% of online adults say they use LinkedIn
We get bullshit turf battles like Tumblr not being able to find your Twitter friends or Facebook not letting Instagram photos show up on Twitter because of giant companies pursuing their agendas instead of collaborating in a way that would serve users. And we get a generation of entrepreneurs encouraged to make more narrow-minded, web-hostile products like these because it continues to make a small number of wealthy people even more wealthy, instead of letting lots of people build innovative new opportunities for themselves on top of the web itself.
Filters are a hook, a glittering lure. They gave many people a reason to try Instagram in 2010, but it wasn’t why people really stuck around and kept using the app. That had more to do with simplicity, speed, and being the right app at the right time.
Once the hook was in with Instagram’s filters in 2010, the true value of the network become immediately apparent to anyone willing to look: Instagram turned everyone into a photographer. The filters gave people like me courage to make that jump. It didn’t matter if our pictures were shitty and made only slightly less shitty by the filters. All that mattered was we were all now taking pictures. A lot of them. And we became interested in other peoples’ pictures.
And that mattered because for the first time, there was a social network that could communicate across all languages. Instagram became a visual language at scale.
On one level, this is about Twitter’s desire to become a platform rather than just a dumb pipe for distributing other people’s content, something it clearly believes it has to do in order to monetize its network and thereby justify its alleged $10-billion market value (although some critics have questioned Twitter’s approach to doing this). But it’s also about how that decision is turning Twitter into a media entity — one that is trying hard to monetize or at least to exert some control over content that is being created by other companies, whether it’s Instagram or the New York Times.
The nostalgia cycles have become so short that we even try to inject the present moment with sentimentality, for example, by using certain digital filters to “pre-wash” photos with an aura of historicity. Nostalgia needs time. One cannot accelerate meaningful remembrance.
Pinterest is now the third most-visited social network, Google is No. 4, and Instagram is No. 11, in the markets Experian measures — which are North America, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.K.
A year ago, Pinterest was No. 188, Google was No. 56 and Instagram was No. 609.
I didn’t start [Instagram] to be a photo app. It was about communicating visually. Those are two very different things. A photo app is a utility. It’s like comparing Twitter to Microsoft Word. If you want to be an author, you’re not always going to constrain yourself to 140 characters.
[Instagram] will bring to Facebook more of the present tense instead of the past, so I think it’s interesting.