Instagram bets Facebook in search of more Likes
Just yesterday, the popular iOS only photo sharing network, Instagram, announced they were updating how Instagram shares images with Facebook. Alexia Tsotsis reported on this for TechCrunch as well.
Under the new features, Instagram will create a Instagram Photos album on your Facebook and upload full size images there as well as a link to the public Instagram URL—all advertised to look “beautiful” on timeline, and it does. The goal of this? To tag onto Facebook’s viral network effects. Tsotsis puts it well when she surmises, “it’s almost like Facebook is functioning here as an ad hoc web interface, no?” Yes, an ad hoc web interface with 800+ million users and a storied history of taking big services and inflating them rapidly (read: Spotify).
Thing is, I’m a fan of my relatively small Instagram network built of amateur photographers. Occasionally I will tweet out an image, but the reason I don’t post any photos to Facebook is because my network there is too bulky, clumsy, awkward and renegade.
Instagram is full of people interested in photography and who are willing to look at my amateur attempts at capturing the world and offer me feedback. It’s safe and comforting because, for the most part, we’re all doing the same thing.
Facebook is the social networking wasteland—a saturated landscape of outlaws and villains—full of people clicking, sharing, liking and propagating content without real insight or understanding (slight dramatization). Sometimes it is best to take a step back into a colony where culture, thought, and trends have a focused center.
Small network enclaves win out right now. That’s why Path and Instagram—my networks with the smallest numbers but most legitimate interaction—win out right now. I don’t want Facebook to pollute that, no matter how many more likes my photos might receive or how beautiful my timeline can look.
The Social Soundtrack
Our soundscape has been drastically altered. There has been a sea of change in the way we collect, create, listen to and share music. A decade ago, the rampant piracy of music descended upon the Internet. With the growth of technology enabling peer-to-peer sharing, as soon as one inspired individual had the audacity to put a song, album or discography on the Internet, all had access to it. The technology was too new for there to be direct moral codes around it; people knew that if they wanted music, they could search, click and it would be theirs — tucked safely in their library.
Apple made a bet with the iTunes Store that people would want to pay for their music so long as acquiring it was as frictionless as in the models presented by the pirate giants Napster, KaZaA and Limewire. The iTunes 99 cents per song model worked for a time, then it fell apart. Complaints were lobbied: the sound quality wasn’t high enough, the previews weren’t long enough, the selection not broad enough. Piracy still ran rampant, and no insular group seemed to have the clout to fight it. To best piracy, an attempt had to be made to out-maneuver the benefits of stealing music while still promoting music, musicians and the music industry.
From the Past: Spotify Effed Up
Originally posted on Google+, July 27, 2011. Spotify has come a long way since I started testing it. Open Graph integration with Facebook’s 800 million users has been a quantum leap in their accessibility. They have also fixed this problem in the mobile app.
I took a gamble recently. I wiped all the music off my iPhone, downloaded the Spotify premium app, grabbed my headphones and ran out the door for 36 hours. I headed up to rural (read: rural) Wisconsin, and on the way I spent time creating more playlists, discovering new artists, and setting the playlists to be available offline when I ultimately reached my internet free destination. While I was in an areas with 3G service, Spotify functioned great. There were a couple of hiccups here and there but nothing not to be expected of the first major iteration of their iOS app. I was streaming via Bluetooth to my car, sound quality was decent, and their 15 million song library was at my fingertips.
The problem occurred when the battery died on my phone. I plugged it back in, booted up Spotify, and, to my surprise, all of the music I had set for offline listening was unavailable. The entire cache of music—300 songs worth—had been wiped and each needed to be individually re-downloaded. Well, I took a chance and I wound up without music.
It’s hard to determine who to point fingers at. Is this a consequence of Spotify’s caching mechanism? Is iOS at fault? Was it just a fluke in the mobile app’s coding? It’s hard to tell. I was able to recreate the situation and the results were the same: all tracks gone. The problem is that this is a pay service. Customers are coughing up $10/month so they can have access to the Spotify mobile app, in addition to higher bit-rate streams on the desktop app, and an ad-free music experience. I had sworn to myself to take a relatively tech free break so I wasn’t too upset that I didn’t have any music. But, others who are less forgiving might react differently. Re-downloading 300 songs, without reason, is also a huge hit to data usage. I luckily am grandfathered in to AT&T unlimited data, but for those on 2GB plans, that’s going to cost them.