Instagram evolves again

Wasn’t it just a few months ago when Instagram turned smartphone photography on its head by opening the platform up to Android users?

Now they’re turning the social media sphere on its head again by moving to web-based profiles. Until this week, one could only access Instagram on the web with a very basic platform, unable to like or comment on the photos.

Some web-based viewers, like Webstagram, started to pop up but once Facebook bought the little photo startup, you had to know Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t take too kindly to someone drafting off his heat.

And mobile purists don’t like the move.

“The trouble is that Facebook is not understanding part of what made Instagram ‘cool’ in the first place,” says Forbes contributor Eric Jackson. “Web isn’t cool any more. Mobile is.”

OK, sure. Mobile is the way of the land. If you’re a business with the slightest bit of interactivity and you aren’t working on your mobile app, you’re about three years behind the times.

But maybe Jackson and his ilk have missed this niggling little fact: more than 40 per cent of brands surveyed by Simply Measured in August have adopted Instagram as part of their marketing plan.

Since the survey, brand adoption has jumped to 54% adoption rate as of Nov. 1.

Money talks.

Zuckerberg and Facebook will bow to what brands with deep pockets want. After all, the test profile page for Instagram’s web debut was Nike’s.

Me? I like it. After all, a lot of people still view Instagram photos on a web browser by finding them on our Twitter feeds. Why not make the experience pretty for them, too?

The photos on the bar at the top rotate, always giving a page visitor a fresh look at my most recent shots of Shep, beautiful scenery and — yawn — what I made for dinner.

If you’re logged into your Instagram account, you can like photos and comment on them, a convenient access route for people who burn through their mobile’s battery power in a few scant hours.

And it’s a much easier way to grab a shot and use its HTML code for embedding in blog posts. You know … like this:

Oh, now you’re shocked I didn’t use a picture of Shep. OK, wait …

Whew … there, that feels better.

Now don’t worry, mobile users, there’s no need to get too knotted up in your knickers.

While Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says further web functionality is on its way, mobile remains the company’s priority.

“We’re not going to add web uploading, we’re still primarily mobile focused,” Systrom told TechCrunch. “This is doing what’s good for users. Right now Instagram is really contained to the mobile phone. We grew to 100 million users on mobile alone, so this is perfectly timed now that we’ve built a critical mass of users. Now it’s time to share Instagram with the broader world.”

After all, the more the merrier, right?

Hmmm … sometimes anyway.


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