Facebook just spent A Billion Dollars on trying to be cool again.
I just don’t get it! I’m an android user and have always been one, so when last week Instagram finally made the trip over, I was kind of excited, I wanted to see what this great app that all my iPhone wielding friends have been telling me about can do. Frankly, I was less than impressed.
At first glance it seemed like a very basic port for a very basic app. The filters weren’t exciting and the interface was meh. Then people were told the app is not the important thing, it’s the social network.
Now, Instagram has a very basic social network, I follow you/you follow me mechanic, so what’s so special about it? In my opinion, apps previously existing on android such as Mobli (cross platform IOS, Android, Blackberry), that have a better looking app and interface, and have an amazing content funnel that gets you an almost instantaneous feedback on what you posted is the only one of these photosharing apps that run on all three major platforms. So basically the whole appeal to it is that it’s “cool”, for no apparent reason.
And then yesterday I find out Facebook purchased them for a billion dollars, and I started wondering why. Let’s go through all the reasons I heard and see if any of them make any sense.
Facebook is all about purchasing companies to get rid of the competition and threat- this makes no sense for one reason, Facebook is still the biggest photosharing platform out there, by a pretty long margin. I get the point of eliminating the competition before it grows in strength, but is the long shot of a tiny opponent someday being up to par with you really worth a billion dollars? Also, if you think of it, right now Instagram is only helping Facebook since almost every Instagram photo also goes up on Facebook.
Facebook needs a better photo viewing/uploading platform- I completely agree. But, this is Facebook, they can build an Instagram-like uploading app in a day and it’ll get as big a user base thanInstagram by the end of the week. I agree it’s easier to buy something rather than build it yourself, but does that really make sense at a billion dollars? Wouldn’t it be easier to buy smaller and cheaper company and use their app as an interface? I just don’t get it.
I can go on and on, but Facebook’s not going to get new users because who has Instagram and doesn’t have Facebook? So what are we left with? Why did they do this? To be cool again!
Among the social media- early adaptor world, Facebook is somewhat perceived a big, old, dinosaur, and they bought Instagram so everyone will think they are the cool kids on the block, but it’s not going to work! Facebook’s ‘uncoolness’ will pull Instagram down, rather than Instagram’s coolness pulling Facebook up. people are already talking about alternatives to instagram, a day later.
Ayelet Noff is the founder and CEO of Blonde 2.0. Blonde 2.0 was founded in 2006, back when almost no one knew what social media even meant.
Since then, Blonde 2.0 has become a 25 person company helping 40+ companies as large as: HP, Applied Materials, Microsoft, AIG, PWC and as small as startups such as: Viber, Mobli, Glide, and uTest, to socialize their brands, engage with consumers via ...
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