Instagram, not so insta anymore

instagram-video-appInstagram: the app that turned the average Joe into a pro photographer, boasts of over a 100 mn users as of February this year and was named app of the year by Apple in 2011(Source:Instagram blog). Its users have been snapping up their breakfast bagel, their awesome lives and even their bathroom tiles. Now, video comes to Instagram. 15 whole seconds of it. Suddenly the app’s Kaizen philosophy appears to have taken a detour.

In a scramble to have it all, the world of social media has progressively become somewhat akin to the Cola wars, with Facebook and Twitter at the helm. It started with Facebook buying Instagram and Twitter buying Vine. Then Facebook rolled out hash tags to get on par with its 140 character nemesis, and now, to take on Vine, Instagram launches video.

While this is all turning into one big content creation party, before you race out to shoot an #igram video to combat a burning FOMO starting to stir within you, consider this: it might not be watched.

The video app market is over fragmented with offerings, some merely differentiated by length constraints – there’s Viddy which allows upto 30 secs of footage, Keek, which allows 36 secs and Socialcam which is uncapped. Then there’s the recent Vine, which challenges your creativity with a 6 sec limitation,which in my opinion, can be fun if done right(my thoughts on Vine here).  Instagram brings its cache of awesome filters over to video, but has failed to ask itself a crucial question –is this just an attempt to compete with Vine and push a technology platform or will it enrich the current Instagram experience? I fear it takes away from it.

The platform might be amazing for its video shooting capabilities, I don’t doubt it. I can also see how this is a juicy bone for brands chasing the famed “content marketing” wagon. The caveat I offer to both would be, don’t bet on your friends/consumers being as amazed as you are with your #birthdayshenanigans and #soundsoftheocean clips, shot with the X-pro II filter.

micro-publishing media

In the online world of social publishing, there has been a gradual swing towards documenting micro-moments. Sharing is encouraged, but in mini morsels that can weave in and out of busy lives without being an interruption. Under these circumstances, 15 second footage of your life seems like a short film. More so if it’s shot in Lo-Fi. Instagram took the photo-sharing baton from Flickr and ran with it, when it comes to video however, the party may have moved elsewhere.

A sense of media fatigue has begun to set in; the popularity of Snapchat is right on the dime with the trend of see it and/or forget about it. Its ephemeral nature makes it interesting. Infact, brands looking to get on the next wave of social would do well looking into this app, especially for limited-time promo code offers and teasers.

What works for Vine is that it lined up with behavioural shifts (instant/fleeting/micro), Instagram-video is an offering that isn’t all that insta nor very differentiated and clutters an otherwise idle, scrolling user experience.

One can only hope there’s an opt out of the video stream.


beyondthemaple is currently unavailable. The writer is on a listening spree.

In my attempt at penning this entry, I kept getting carried away by the massive amounts of knowledge and information currently available through social media content, all of which has been hitting me at speeds that would give race car drivers a run for their money.

Social media has definitely hit an all time high – from tweeting to facebook updates, from gbuzz to blogging, the average social media junkie has his or her hands full up, all in a bid to tell all.  A little late for me to be singing the glories of the internet and social media, I agree, and what’s the new story there anyway,right ?

Well, I’m just curious – if everyone’s talking, who’s doing the listening?

I reckon that with the mass of information being spun onto the worldwide web, it’s time marketeers,branding gurus and even passionate crusaders need to move into receiving mode every now and then. From telling, to listening. From blogging, to following other blogs. From tweeting, to retweeting . From posting pictures to flickr, to taking time to view the world through some one else’s lens. From jazzing up one’s own profile page, to taking time to read what Alison from New Jersey is listening to these days.

Simple case in point, when I chose to follow MiamiAdSchool on twitter, it felt nice when MiamiAdSchool requested to follow me.  I would say this thought translates into the offline medium too – case in point – Primus. While Bell and Rogers (Canadian telecom giants) leave you to talk to a command recognition prompter when you call the helpline, Primus has a person that comes on the line, talks to you unscripted, and even cracks a little joke with you! (Just makes you feel like they’re truly listening).

Anyway returning to social media branding and its shout out loud approach to things – in an attempt to be present at all the right places and say all the right things, brands need to ensure they aren’t blowing their own trumpet to an audience that’s long gone because no one heard their side of the story.

I chanced upon an inspiring talk by Mat Zucker, on listening, thought it worthwhile to link to as it’s so relevant to this post.