Since its introduction in October 2010, Instagram has turned our mobile iOS and Android devices into a photo sharing dream tool and has become the fastest growing social network since Facebook and Twitter. Instagram allows users to take amazing photographs in a Polaroid format by applying filters and then share with the world, but I fear many users have now become misguided in how to “appropriately” use the application. In “Here’s How to Use Instagram,” (http://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-2010-11) an article written in Novemebr 2010 shortly after the launch of the photo sharing application, Dan Frommer of Business Insider describes the application as being 2 things: “First, Instagram is for taking pictures, adding filters to make them look retro, and then for sharing them with sites like Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook. And second, it's a simple social network of other people's photos.” Instagram on its website describes the application as “a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.” In neither of these descriptions is the application described as an outlet to “transform your thoughts into wonderful images...” as many of the users on the social network have begun to do using applications like Tweegram.
This has been something that has been confusing me since Tweegram was introduced back in June 2011. With a social network already designed to allow us to share our thoughts in 140 characters or less and another which allows us to share our world in text, photo and video; why would we want to pollute a social network designed strictly for photos with text thoughts dressed up in one of several illustrative styles that by now we have all seen at least 10 times?
The name of the application Tweegram itself lends the idea that you are convoluting Instagram with Twitter. What baffles me even further is that after users post these “Tweegrams” on Instagram they will then share the photo on Twitter… Why didn’t you just post the text to Twitter?!? Or even better than that… Instagram allows users to caption the photos that they have posted on their timeline and I have seen on multiple occasion users who will caption the photos of the text that they have “Tweegram’d.” This leads me to only one conclusion: you “Tweegram’d” and incomplete thought and were too lazy to go back and create another “Tweegram” with the missing text to your complete thought.
Why is it that this phenomenon has been limited only to Instagram? Why is it that Facebook, with over 900 million users and 7+ years of photo sharing, has seen limited appearance of text based images used to convey users thoughts. Is it a lack of an application specifically designed to allow users to do so? Or is it because the social network already has an outlet for users to share their thoughts via status updates?
I suppose when I think back, this is no different than the introduction of TwitPic. Pictures were introduced to a social network designed strictly for users to succinctly share their thoughts using text years ago in 2008, but the major difference is that Twitter did not provide an outlet for users to share photos prior to the introduction of TwitPic… Instagram has allowed users to caption photos and share thoughts via text since its inception. With that I ask, why not simply find a photo that reflects your thoughts and then caption it with the text you would have previously “Tweegram’d?” Also notice that since the introduction of Instagram to the two most popular mobile platforms today, the use of TwitPic has severely diminished almost to the point where it is never used.From the decline in the use of TwitPic and other derivations of it we can begin to conclude that with a social network for each of the social mediums currently used today, users are gravitating to using the appropriately designated social network designed for that medium. So why have we made an exception for the photo medium? I do not log on to Instagram in hopes of reading the thoughts of users. I log on to Instagram to view a story told by images and stunning photos of the world as seen by others. Let us respect the design of Instagram and leave the tweets for Twitter...