The changes to Instagram in the past twenty-four hours have left their loyal user-base in bits. As many choose to become “Instaquitters”, others are involved in lengthy debates over what this acquisition really “means”. In terms of brand companionship, the allegiance of Facebook and Instagram is reminiscent of Coca Cola and Innocent – they just don’t stand for the same things in the eyes of the consumer. Instagram – warm and sentimental – now in the grip of big, bad Facebook. As Tim Malbon said in his emotional post earlier today, “I can’t bear the thought of you and Facebook, you know… ‘together’…”.
But this overwhelming fear that Instagram will ‘change’ makes no sense. Instagram has already been changing, driven by what we, as users, want. Increasingly, Instagram has begun to be used as what it basically is – a photo sharing tool – rather than just a creative outlet. Ultimately a content sharing social network but in its simplest form, just another app. Assuming that Facebook stick to their promise, then Instagram are now armed with a bigger budget and a bigger team with which to develop their platform in the image of its greatest asset – its community. Those people who quit Instagram today are going to miss out on contributing to a crucial stage in its development, before it really got into its stride.