The popular photo-sharing app Instagram was apparently one of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s favourite apps. Though the app just eluded Twitter’s grasp after being bought by Facebook, it looks like Instagram will finally be more like the brother it never had.
For one, Instagram now has an algorithmic suggested follows box. Much like Twitter’s, following one institution and suddenly it cascades into its sister institutes. Follow National Geographic and it recommends NASA. Follow BBC and Twitter gives you other news networks to follow. Now, Instagram gives you an endless, addictive following rabbit-hole in that vein.
Hello, familiar-looking app
The Explore tab also echoes Twitter’s Discover page. You may find friends of friends, or more food porn blogs, or more nature porn blogs. Essentially, both now enable porn of whatever form you may desire. Tapping items may also give you recommendations “based on people you follow”. Or you may find “what’s popular within your country” which is always illuminating.
Instagram’s had hashtag support for a long time but the app will begin to track trending hashtags on its revamped Explore page, like Twitter is known for. The name of the game for both social media outlets is hashtags but since Instagram is inherently visually-based it will slot more easily into pop-culture and celebrity events coverage like Fashion Week or the Oscars.
In similar ways, Instagram and Twitter both bring celebrity closer to the average plebian. God forbid, we forget the multiple paradigm shifts that were the result of Kanye’s career on Twitter. Yet photo posts have always been more engaging than text – a marketing firm called Shift claims photo Tweets get about 5 times more attention than text-only Tweets.
With these changes, it looks like Instagram may be trying to topple Twitter as the leading current events social media outlet. If Shift’s claim is to be trusted, that the image engages a user five times more than text (and really, who would argue), they may have a real chance of doing so.
In the meantime, read about why Twitter thinks you need help with photos.