Instagram launches Layout; shows that it is still all about its creative community
Instagram started as an app for mobile photographers. Yes our phone’s cameras were rubbish, but Instagram filters brought them to life as part of a community of mobile photography.
As selfies invaded the stream Instagram was at risk of losing its core ethos
Traditionally, Instagram was part of the interest graph — it was all about what you found interesting. As the community grew, and more friends joined and soon it became led by the social graph — who you found interesting. As selfies invaded the stream Instagram was at risk of losing its core ethos; and when Facebook bought Instagram at 22 million users, some feared the worst for the platform.
However, throughout its short life, Instagram has remained true to its roots. It has remained faithful to the original reason why people love it — creative photography and community. Whilst it needs to generate revenue via advertising, senior personnel in Menlo Park have famously taken pains to personally review each promoted post and though this doesn’t always filter out dreadful posts, it shows what the team care about. Features such as direct messaging haven’t enhanced the platform’s creativity, but satellite app releases such as Hyperlapse and, today’s Layout really do. These apps show what Instagram really cares about — the creative community — because these apps are the result of something every platform can learn from: listening and responding to the community. Instagram has recognised that collages and photo mashups are an increasingly popular visual language, with significant groundswell, especially amongst younger users. Kudos to them for delivering another innovation that will make the community happy and also make the photos and videos published on Instagram even more creative.