Why I love Instagram

I started writing this post last weekend, before the big Facebook sale was announced, as I wanted to talk about – in light of the recent Android-owners backlash – I use (and enjoy) Instagram. It’s funny now though how that very same backlash has not only continued but also now includes all things Facebook. Incredible. C’est la vie.

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I love Instagram. There, I said it.
I also don’t own an iPhone.

So how?

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time knows that I am a Nokia fan. My current phone du jour is the Nokia Lumia 800 and before I now I have waxed lyrical about its predecessors the N8 and the N86. Similarly, regular readers will also know that I am an iPad-owner also. Of that too, I am also a fan.

I am a social media junkie; If something is new and shiny, I take a(n educated and measured) interest and, in all honesty, the lure of Instagram was too much.

The next logical step? Install Instagram onto the iPad.

2012-04-09-21-34-36_8106A5AB-D46E-4CE2-B9F9-4D03BB8B824B

While there isn’t an official Instagram iPad app, the iPhone version doubles up just fine. Problem solved, right? Well, yes but that’s not enough. I own an iPad 2 y’see and, while it does have an onboard camera, you may as well give a packet of crayons to a pack of blind monkeys for all the use it’ll do you. A decent image it produces, not.

The great thing about Nokia devices however, is that the top end bad boys tend to come packing high-end mobile camera technology. Which is great, and as 99% of the images I snap with my Lumia end up on my Flickr account – all I need is a method of getting those images into Instagram.

Well, that’s where Flickr Studio comes in –

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I can browse my Flickr photostream and download the images I want/need onto my iPad (you can see where this is going can’t you) which closes the circle nicely –

Lumia – >; Flickr
Flickr – iPad
iPad – >; Instagram

Yes, it’s a lengthy process and yes it’s not exactly ideal either but like I said, I like the network and I like the people I follow there. I installed Instagram onto my Nexus S a couple of days ago and I’ve hardly used it. I prefer the iPad experience. Plus, my pictures are infinitely better.

Since the Android release last week it’s almost too funny how much the elitist iPhone-owners have spat back at the network [EDIT: even more so now after the sale]. Apparently some slighted iPhone-Instagrammers are even flocking to new services to escape the influx of ‘tasteless’ Android-ers. Hilarious.

I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Instagram community and have never uploaded an iPhone-created picture, ever. That makes me happy inside and that’s how I use (and why I love) Instagram.

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PS. As I said earlier this week, post-sale, Instagram will be fine

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An idea for iPlayer mobile

(or TED, or any video-based mobile app)

When I open the application, I want the app to gauge my time and serve me content accordingly. It could ask me ‘How much time do you have?’ but that’s boring. My thinking is you could get quite cheeky with the measurement –

First question: location. Based upon your answer to this, the app takes an educated guess as to the length of video you want to consume at this time.

Like so –

Thoughts

“Hi, where are you? In bed, on the train or on the toilet?”

In bed, you get everything; on the train, you get everything up to say…  30mins? – and on the toilet, well, you get content up to ten minutes. Obviously there’d be other (probably more user-defined) options available, but you get my point

I’ve mentioned this before (to the Beeb itself at one point) and I don’t know why this hasn’t been done or why content isn’t browse-able by length at all* in fact. I’ve got a 15 minute journey ahead of me so therefore I’d like to see all content that is 15mins or under in length. Simple.

.

What is the behaviour of your mobile user?

 

*if it has, I haven’t seen it and well, I fully expect to get told about it within minutes of hitting publish….

Instagram + Facebook

I had a post scheduled for later on this week talking about my recent love affair with all things Instagram (even though I don’t actually own an iPhone) however, some news is breaking right now that kinda needs covering.

Facebook just bought Instagram, for $1bn.

That’s right: One. Billion. Dollars.

Stefan nailed it –

Well, do you? It’s a lot.
But why?

To start us off, here are some numbers* to get your head around taken from the mere 18mths that Instagram has been in existence:

  • 1 billion photos uploaded
  • 30 million registered users
  • 5 million photos uploaded every day
  • 575 likes every second
  • 81 comments every second
  • 1 million downloads of the new Android app in 24hrs

That’s a lotta love for an app that is solely mobile-based. But why is that important to Facebook? Think about it – Facebook is about the data. As the saying goes: if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product – and Instagram just sold a whole ton of data about its users. Not personal data, or contact data but image data and sharing data.

What people snap, what filters they apply when they’ve snapped and where & how they share that snap is all important data for a social network that builds itself around social objects and the relationships that people form around them.

While this kind of purchase is new ground for Facebook, it’s refreshing to see that it has every intention of keeping the service independent and multi-platform friendly. Mark Zuckerberg has already talked about lending Instagram Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure – something that they’ll need when it comes to the building for scale. That sounds like someone who only has the app’s best interests at heart, certainly.

And while a billion dollars is a lot of money, Facebook has just bought itself its own standalone photo-sharing app, with a built-in base of happy users while at the same time cancelling out a potential competitor in the lucrative social networking space. Good things will come of this acquisition, Yahoo + Flickr this ain’t.

As Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, blogged earlier today

It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. 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.

Remember, the future is mobile and Instagram have proven that a mobile-only social network is not only worthwhile but 100% achievable to boot.

Best of luck guys (all 13 of you); your fans, users, industry and investors will be watching.

*since April 3rd, 2012 – source

UPDATE – Other posts of note:

Originality + Mobile

Or lack thereof.

First, in 2009, this –


[Bungee jumping, shot on a Nokia N86]

Then, in 2010, this –


[A rollercoaster review of the N97 Mini, shot with the N97 Mini]

So far so good…

Straight after that, we got to work on this –


[Shoot what you like with the Nokia N8, shot on the Nokia N8]

With the winners being invited along to this –


[A zero G flight, shot on the Nokia N8]

Great stuff.

Later, in 2011, this appeared


[A rollercoaster review ‘unboxing’ of the SGSII, shot with a ?]

Brilliant? Yes. Familiar? Slightly.

Admittedly they went one better, with this –


[A skydive review ‘unboxing’ of the SGSII, shot with a ?]

Well done.

Imagine my surprise when, today in 2012 this appeared on TV for HTC  –


[A free-fall fashion shoot with the HTC One, shot with a ?]

Amazing. Not.

Seriously, three years of this now… come along guys, at least try to do something different. It genuinely doesn’t matter who had the idea first or even who managed to push it to the next level. All we’re asking is for some originality.

Samsung was blatant, HTC is just plain late.

And while it’s fair to say, admittedly, everything is a remix; if Sony can create something new, you can too.

Do. Better.

 

What is Dabr?

Dabr is probably the best mobile web interface for Twitter available today. Described as ‘m.twitter on steroids’ by its users, Dabr is a labour of love by three chaps from England.

It started back in 2008 when David Carrington, mobile developer hobbyist extraordinaire left this comment on the then SMSTextNews website, Mobile Industry Review. I replied and then we took it offline.  From there, ideas started firing back and forth right up until the end of the year.

Three months later, in January 2009, I signed on as official strategic advisor and since then, we’ve grown the service massively. As of August 2011, the open source code has been downloaded 27,000 times and, even as far back as 2010, our user numbers and stats have been fairly impressive (which reminds me, I have an update from 2011 to put up on the blog).

Originally built for alpha-numeric keypad devices, such as the Nokia N95, Dabr now caters for screens big and small, with touchscreens and without, sometimes even stretching to devices that aren’t even phones!

Supakitsune - Dabr

Being open source means that guests can add their own code to the story and Terence Eden‘s contributions were so damn good that David asked him to become the third member of our team. It’s only a part-time project (we all have day jobs) so the more help we can get, the better. Terence’s contributions have been fantastic. In fact the last overhaul (when we switched servers) included a whole host of features that were mainly based on his awesome developments and iterations.

Thanks to our successes on the user number front, we had to introduce adverts to help pay for new (and better) servers. Fortunately, the users that we’ve done this for have been both supportive and loyal throughout this time and our numbers have stayed steady. Ads are in, the users are happy and the service still lives on.

Next time you’re on Twitter, have a look for the tell-tale sign of ‘via Dabr’ at the end of someone’s tweet, that means they’re using one of the best free web-based Twitter apps available today.

Give it a go, you might like it –

Related links:

Dabr
The Dabr Blog
Dabr on Twitter

The Code

Terence Eden’s Dabr Posts


In the press:

Channel 4 News [link broken] but references can found on the Dabr Blog and Mobile Industry Review
One Forty Review Page
(4.5 out 5)
Mr Phillip Schofield is a fan and user
Service of the Week‘ by mjelly
UberMedia using Dabr’s code c/o The Next Web
First Second Twitter app to integrate Twitter lists

 

Also published as a page for future reference —

 

 

Five things on Friday #14

Five things of note for the week ending Friday, April 6th 2012

1. Paper by Fifty Three
I’ve already blogged about discovering this app, but if you haven’t taken a look yet (it’s for the iPad) then I recommend you do. I love it and have been sketching away like there’s no tomorrow since installing… Unsurprisingly, there’s a theme.

Heroes!

2. Awesome New Music

New Childish Gambino
New Nicki Minaj
New Kanye West
And this full album stream from Alabama Shakes is worth a lisen too.
Enjoy 

3. Comic book stuff
I’ve been reading Project Rooftop for some time now, and it is an ace source of fantastic artwork on some my favourite characters. Their remit is to highlight and drive the craft of redesigning comic book characters that you know and love and generally showcase some gorgeous work.

This past week has been no different, but these two redesigns, Ninja Turtles and X-Men respectively, stood out particularly.

Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo all getting the redesign treatment. Given the myriad of interpretations the Turtles have been through over the years, giving them a fresh take is no easy task. But this effort is actually brilliant. I want to see more… And guess what, you can! Full set available here

This one stands out for two reasons. First, it’s the original X-Men (who are still one of the best teams to date) and two, the version of Ice-Man is sweet. I’ve not seen an ice-as-armour version before and well, no pun intended, it’s just too damn cool for words. You can check out the full set over on P:R. It’s worth a look, definitely.

What do you think?

4. The Lumia 900
The Nokia Lumia 900 launches this week and, while it is only really a bigger version of the Lumia 800 (which I’ve been rocking and enjoying since late last year), it’s intriguing to me as it’s the big N’s first serious play in the USA since, well – since forever really. To say it’s make or break time might be an understatement, but I think they might actually have winner on their hands. Only time will time.

This Read Write Web piece made me grin mind –

“There have been rumors that Nokia is paying AT&T to make sure that every rep uses the Lumia 900 as a personal device. The idea is that consumers trust sales reps to steer them in the right direction. Even as an advanced early adopter and mobile technology reporter, I often trust sales reps to tell me what the best device is and what is coming out (sometimes I quiz them to see how much they actually know about the ecosystem because I am that type of jerk).”

Heh, you’re not on your own there chap… 

I’d like to have a play with the Lumia 900 at some point (honestly, I haven’t played with one yet!) and I’m sure it’d be great, but what interests me more is what’s coming next. We all know the Lumia range is merely a proof-of-concept device (and a very nice range it is too) but I want to see what the tech-heads in Finland are going to do next. Now they’ve proven they can design gorgeous Windows phones, let’s see some of that innovation that they’re also famous for. Exciting times ahead, both for Nokia itself as well as the industry as a whole.

5. I made the Slovenian FT

Amazing

Bonuses: Dan Goodall got his blog back online, go read it; Fish: a tap essay is one of the best things I’ve come across for a long time and finally, I’ve been looking at the image below nearly every day – it’s just beautiful. 

Until next time –

Creativity + Mobile

I gave this talk back in May last year (I blogged about it at the time), merely one week after I returned from my Trans-Mongolian Railway adventure. However, I’ve only recently discovered that the video is now publicly available. Awesome!

So, as well as going back and updating my original post, I thought I’d publish it here for all to see.

Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices

From iPhones through to space rockets and back again via Instagram’d monastic rooftops – this is how mobile is changing the way we create.

My work with 1000heads is mentioned, as is some Nokia stuff too aaaand, to top it off, my friend (from said train journey) Ben Wallace manages to make an appearance too.

Enjoy – and leave comments!