Since its inception as a simple search engine, Google has found its way into every aspect of our lives. Consisting of search, maps, translation, and entertainment, to name a few facets, Google has truly changed the way humans interact with technology and each other.
Although with far less branches, Instagram has evolved to stay at the top of the social media ladder while some other networks have dropped off or lost relevance. Instagram perfectly understands that in order to remain a the top of its game, it has to revise features constantly and consistently. It has done a great job of this over the last year year with the introduction of live streaming, filters, and the ability to add multiple photos and swipe through.
While “google” has become a verb meaning to search, “instagram” now means to take a photo and to post it. And like Google, Instagram has changed the way we make our ‘kodak moments’. Rather than spontaneous though, we can now perfectly plan and set our stages and change the lighting and filters to give our followers ‘gram-envy #WishYouWereHere.
While Snap Inc. pens itself as a camera company, Facebook is now actively exploring virtual reality and AI and Twitter has positioned itself as a platform for realtime conversations. Instagram doesn’t seem to have a clearcut mission statement, but states it’s the place for visual storytelling. Maybe it’s this openness to interpretation and use that has made Instagram the de facto and fastest growing social network.
Just as Google has made information accessible, Instagram has made our memories accessible. Our timelines are a visual journey of how we have evolved. The more you scroll through your own page, the more you’ll see how much you’ve changed. And the best bit is, you can delete the pics you don’t want to remember (Urgh! Those eyebrows!) or even just archive (I don’t know how I feel about THAT haircut).
Instagram has ensured we have a platform where we can store all our images just as Google acts as a platform for the world’s information. Need recommendations? Search a hashtag for food inspo, fitness ideas, make up tutorials… the possibilities are endless. Instead of a page of links, we get a page full of images, and in the era of social networks (and depleted attention spans) images are more fitting.
Live video, swipe up, photos that don’t disappear all helped Instagram overtake Snapchat as the best image sharing app. And to the critics, the aspect that sets IG stories apart from Snapchat is that followers can see the whole process behind one of the pictures posted on a profile (and screenshots aren’t notifications…)
In June, Instagram announced that it had more than 250 million users creating Stories every day. This is more than the entirety of users of Snapchat, which had a total of 166 million daily users as of May. Instagram also seems to be doing what Snap Inc, set out to do as a camera company, revolutionising the way that people take and share images and videos. Instagram has learned how to cater to all users, whether consumers or businesses, and seems to have done a better job of evolving and retaining a young audience than its fellow networks.
The New Norm
Just like Google revolutionised information consumption, Instagram has completely overhauled how people take and display photos and how they interact with each other. It’s changed how we search for recommendations and inspiration and somehow managed to become a social platform hybrid that managed to surpass its competitors. Relatively young, it’ll be interesting to see how Instagram continues to evolve and whether there will be any Instagram products in the pipeline. (Hoping these won’t be glasses that take pictures, but if it is, we’re sure they’ll do well).
‘I Instagrammed it’, is the new ‘I googled it’.