By Sarah Boutwell
Earlier this week iPhone users rolled their eyes as Android users clapped their hands in delight at being able to download the app Instagram.
Instagram was created in October 2010 by CEO Kevin Systrom; he previously worked at Twitter. Maybe that’s why Instagram has been described as the “visual Twitter.” It was exclusive to iOS users before Tuesday, but now it’s available in Google Play for Android users using version 2.2 and above. Sorry tablet users, not allowed.
The app allows users to create a profile and upload photos of their sunsets, sunrises, outfits and food. Users can manipulate their photos with different filters and effects, “heart” other user photos, and follow their favorites. Even celebrities like Justin Bieber and Rihanna use the app. With more than 30 million users, in addition to the 1 million and counting Android users that have squeezed onto the bus, it’s easy to see why Facebook wanted to buy it.
As soon as iPhone users found out Android had their precious app, they snapped their Mac open to tweet their outrage. What followed was a storm of elitist comments about Android users. It was like sibling rivalry, only more immature.
Ayan Akbar, an animation graduate student, bought an iPhone because he knew it worked well and was user-friendly. He has the Instragram app and thinks having it available for Android is actually a good thing. But he understands the complaints being made.
“Android hasn’t reached that peak where it can produce quality apps that are at the same level as the iPhone” Akbar said. “So they try to copy the iPhone’s apps, which takes a lot of time to develop, so iPhone users have this thing in their head that they’re always ahead of [Android] users.”
Android user Lavaida Bradford, a junior studying game design, said the whole issue didn’t bother her. She doesn’t have Instagram. Even so, she’s witnessed the rivalry happening on other social network mediums.
“I saw [the app] on Facebook first because a lot of my friends post their photos on there. They did start arguing on their walls about it though. They were upset about it,” said Bradford. “They felt it was their app, their community before anyone else. It just reminds me of the “in group, out group” concept I learned in Psychology, where the out group isn’t as cool as the in group.”
Bradford also explained why the app creators probably decided to make the move. For those of us who are less tech-oriented.
“This is the interactive game design talking, but it’s a lot more accessible to get what you need to make an app for the iPhone than the Android. And if you really want to make money and have something be successful, you usually do it for the iPhone and then take it to Android.”
Makes sense. And now it has made an even bigger move, to the most successful social networking company: Facebook.
Now that Facebook has purchased Instagram for $1 billion dollars, many users are retiring from their careers as amateur photographers. “The neighborhood has gone to hell,” is the sentiment some iPhone users are expressing in their photo captions. But Systrom made a promise to users on the company blog on Monday:
“We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.”
So talk of Facebook violating privacy with photos is happening all over again. Many users want to quit Instagram all together. But will they? Doubtful. When has this argument ever really stopped anyone from social networking? Especially now that there will be even more photos to creep on.
Contact Sarah Boutwell.