I came late to the Instagram craze — post the Facebook acquisition. But I’ve come to really enjoy it. Easy to snap a photo on the iPhone, and then share it not only on Instagram’s mobile social platform, but, if I so choose, on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Foursquare. In fact, Instagram is probably the best social platform in terms of being able to seamlessly share content into your other social networks.
I’d go so far as to say that if it weren’t for this sharing functionality, I don’t think I’d be as interested in using Instagram. I love that I can easily send pictures to my Twitter and Tumblr accounts. Yes, I dig the Instagram photo filter options, but I could live without those. It’s the easy to use mobile front-end experience coupled with the seamless sharing that keeps me thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to Instagram this.”
And I love that I can share a picture via Instagram either in the moment, or while I have a few minutes to spare well after the photo has been snapped — while I’m above ground on the subway, sitting in yet another meeting, perhaps waiting at the bar for my pals to show up.
Everyone is talking about how this is a mobile-only play, that it doesn’t have a web component. I would say that it has smartly deferred the web component to the major social networks that everyone is already using and fully entrenched in. By the nature of the platform, native mobile sites need to stay feature-lite and focused — Instagram does this pitch perfectly — a focused and no-frills way to share your own photos, as well as scroll through, like and comment on the photos of the people you follow. It’s not anything more than that, and I hope it stays that way. But at the same time, the photos you take on Instagram are worth sharing on more feature-rich platforms like Facebook and Tumblr, sites that people are accessing and experiencing beyond their mobile device. Instagram has recognized this and makes it as easy as pie to push out your photos to those more web-dominant platforms (would love to see Google+ and WordPress added).
The takeaway: Keep the social mobile experience simple and focused (don’t load up on too many features or options), and allow users to seamlessly share into their additional, and perhaps more important, social networks (don’t get greedy).