Instagramers.com, a community home for lovers of the Instagram app, was born on January 20, 2011. On the site, which is based in Spain, users can learn how to use the app and build community at the same time. It’s a great place for anyone who wants to learn how this photo-sharing app actually works, and how to get noticed. Instagramers.com is slightly younger than the Instagram iOS app itself, which launched on October 2010. For the Instagram-obsessed, Instagramers.com is the place to be. How did Instagramers.com react to Facebook’s acquisition of the service? ReadWriteWeb spoke with Instgramers.com Founder Philippe Gonzalez to learn more.
ReadWriteWeb: Did you see the Facebook-Instagram acquisition coming? Were you at all concerned about or thinking about the possibility of Instagram being acquired by Facebook when you launched Instagramers.com?
Philippe Gonzalez: When I launched the blog, Instagramers.com, I didn’t really mind what would happen with Instagram in the future. I was just motivated by helping people with the Internet, apps and social networks – I wanted to help them get the most out of Instagram. My blog was not focused on a business model at all, and I knew that my project could lead nowhere, depending on the success of the app.
About the purchase itself: We had some info these last months that Google and Facebook were highly interested in the fast development of Instagram, and of course were interested in developing something in this area. There were rumors that Facebook was trying to develop its own photosharing app last winter, but nothing really happened.
We were digesting the Android version and the effect it could have. Everyday it was a constant flow of “1 million new users” into Instagram, and that was the main information we were receiving. I thought that Instagram would stay independent for a long time. First, because the number of users was increasing and the team needed money to run servers and maintenance, and secondly, because strategically Instagram needed to be a “plus” to another service. My first thought last year when I launched Instagramers.com was that it would be a perfect complement to Twitter. Most of all. People like Jack Dorsey of Twitter was one of the first people to invest in Instagram in early 2011, and Kevin Systros worked there for awhile.
ReadWriteWeb: How do you think the type of imagery on Instagram will change in the post-Facebook acquisition era, once Instagram is fully a part of Facebook?
Philippe Gonzalez: I think Zuckerberg is conscious that a full integration of Instagram with Facebook would be a great mistake. It would be like throwing a billion dollars to the rubbish bin.
I think it’s really a strategic purchase to provide Instagram users [the means to] share their photos with ever more agility… in the medium term. And we all hope Facebook is conscious of it.
During all these last months, Igers (that’s to say, Instagram users) were very reluctant to be considered like members of a “controlled” social network and had the intention to live in a dream, in a social network “free of business and economic interests,” and they even rejected Facebook. Most of our friends were spending less and less time in their Facebook profiles, prefering the stickiness, new experiences and emotions created by Instagram’s small squared pics addiction.
On many occasions, i suggested on my @Igers account (Instagramers stream in Instagram) that Facebook could be preparing an “Instagram version” and dozens, hundreds of negative comments rejected the idea, showing their detachment of the Facebook platform. Curiously, I’m sure most of the people have their own Facebook profile and use it daily but [they have] a “bad image” of Facebook privacy terms and wanted to stay independent and away from the eye of the “Big Brother,” or how they consider Facebook to be today.
That’s why I think Facebook will not integrate Instagram in the short/medium term and shouldn’t provoke any change in “Imagery” or Instagram streams. In my opinion, the launching of the Android version has probably much more impact at the moment in the quality and use by the “early adopters and evangelists,” and the future of the app than the purchase by Facebook. Tons of “teens” have arrived to Instagram, changing “the genuine mood” and ecosystem of the app, driving some people to migrate to other apps. It was something “iPhoners” like me could anticipate before they launched it, actually – just because a different OS meant [targeting different] users and behaviors, which would have an impact sooner or later on the app itself.
This is the first of two posts. Look for the next one soon. In the meantime, here are a few additional thoughts from Gonzalez on the Instagramers.com blog.