There is an outstanding profile in the Economist on Facebook and why buying Instagram just may work. Reading through, though, I think there’s a nice sweet spot of a quote that illustrates more about the media world right now than just the $1 Billion dollar grab by Zuck et al:
Instagram has proved irresistible largely because of two big trends that are transforming the technology landscape. The first is the rapid rise of the mobile internet, which is being driven by a proliferation of smartphones and wireless broadband connections. The second is the desire of people to be able to share stuff with their pals from wherever they are.
I have long argued that mobile’s biggest advantage out of the list of things that separate it from other media is that it is a pretty powerful tool to have with you at the moment when you want to create content. As the capabilities of cameras on phones have blown away the basic digital quickshots – and taken a step out of the process to get them into the sharing spaces of the Internet – this one-device shift has been huge.
There’s another trend to put against Facebook and the photo war, and part of that is what drives people back to Facebook over-and-over again:
So, if you’re the biggest photo library in the world, and you know that photos drive the most engagement on your site, you need to make sure you can continue to keep up with how people are sharing photos, right? When you consider that Instagram boasts a pretty solid platform for engagement that doesn’t include Facebook at all (something that was surprising to me as a newer, Android user), the competition is there.
This is bigger than just the combination of the two companies. It’s an acknowledgment of how content creation and social engagement play together from a mobile story. The mobile Web and social interface isn’t exactly going anywhere, and rather than reinvent the wheel and the process (I’m looking at you, people with Circles), you have to steer into that one.
Facestagram is not the edge of the bubble. It’s recognizing the trend.