The future of Instagram – what are the alternatives?

4 minute read

Flickr vs. Instagram vs. Twitter

There’s no denying the sheer volume of news surrounding Instagram in the last week. Firstly, they removed support for users to view photos within tweets, and this week they announced a change in their terms and conditions. These changes stated that Instagram had the right to sell users’ photos to advertisers. The reaction to this news has been understandably negative, with people taking to social media and news sites to find ways of deleting their accounts. Instagram have since spoken up and denied that this was the intended meaning of the changes.

The future of Instagram seems unclear at this point and I’m sure close attention will be paid to developments in the coming days. Prior to the upheaval, Instagram has been a hugely popular smartphone app with over 100 million users. Their popularity caught the eye of Facebook, who back in the summer purchased them for a whopping $1 billion. The photo-based platform has been criticised historically due to some problems with spam and the view that photos are starting to look the same.

While we await clarification of the changes to Instagram’s terms and conditions, users may understandably be left feeling unsettled. If you’re now considering moving to a different platform, both Twitter and Flickr introduced their own photo filtering options in the last week.

Twitter has over 500 million users and reacted to Instagram’s recent news by introducing their own filtering options in an app update. I’ve previously used Instagram to then share my photos to another platform, and while Instagram has built it’s own community, Twitter is a stronger social platform. If I think about the search functionality Instagram offers, it doesn’t compare favourably to Twitter’s. I can post a tweet, with a filtered photo and include as many hashtags as I want. I can then search for that topic on Twitter. The only difference is that Instagram is photo driven, whereas Twitter focuses on both content and multimedia.

Last week Flickr, a photo community website, launched a brand new iPhone app with the tag line in their promotional video ‘Share the world you see’. I use the Flickr app every day and the new app includes a tab to showcase other users’ photographs – building on that community element that’s so apparent on their website. I also now have the option to filter the photographs I upload via my phone. Yes, similar to Instagram and Twitter. I have a handful of friends who filter their photos via Instagram and then publish them to their Flickr page – so has Instagram just lost out there? Have others been using Instagram in a similar way? To add another element to the mix, Flickr photos can be shared to Twitter with ease.

Personally, I’m struggling to see a place for Instagram in my internet life. Given the recent news I’m not sure I want to take any risks about where my photos might end up. Yes it has some impressive filtering options and a great community base, but Flickr does too. With the new Flickr app I can really explore other people’s photos. Twitter feels like a separate contender – it goes beyond its photo offering in my eyes.

What do you think of this recent news? Has it changed your perception of Instagram? Or are you bored of all this filtering malarkey? Drop a comment in the box below, I’d love to hear what you think on this.