Ever since Facebook bought Instagram for a cool $1 billion earlier this year, there has been debate about the repercussions across the social media landscape. Which is why, when Twitter severed links further with Instagram to remove Twitter sharing integration last week (ontop of being able to find Twitter friends from Instagram), many have billed this as a full out social media war.
As we now know, Twitter is working on their own retro-inspired photo filters as part of their plan to compete against the Facebook/Instagram amalgamation. It’s not difficult to see why the original social channels want a piece of the photo sharing pie. Instagram has proven its worth through the most rapid growth of any platform, reaching the 100 million users mark in just less than 2 years since it began, in half the time which it took Facebook and Twitter to reach so many users. With 5 million photos being uploaded to Instagram a day, there can be no doubt of the channels’ popularity.
Although I believe that the progress will turn out for the positive, I cannot help but think that each social channel has its own niche, not just in its’ functionality but primarily in how people wish to use them. Our relationship with each channel is personal, and quite complex, often tailored to each situation / group of contacts. According to LinkedIn research reported by Media Bistro, my gut feeling that people use different channels for different reasons rings true. Obviously this is fairly obvious for LinkedIn, being such a discrete channel, but the picture becomes much more interesting in some of the more ‘informal’ social networks. I know that many people draw the line at Facebook for only personal use, and more ‘open’ networks enabled for public sharing such as Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr etc earmarked for more professional use. However, the lines continue to be incredibly blurred and nothing is so compartmentalised in real lives.
The main social channels will do well to consider their niche in how people choose to share part of their lives online, in order to really own, and therefore maximise potential for data and monetisation.
Image courtesy of Flickr / Atomic Playboy