News of the Tweet: Instagram

Missing links, Zuckerberg isn't sharing and the world's longest hashtag

By Seb Kemp

College Humor nailed this one. I dare any Instagram user to watch this and say they have never matched some of the behaviors they satirize.

This week the 'big' news was that Instagram is no longer allowing Twitter users to view its photographs in tweets in an effort to drive more people away from the rival social media company to its own website.

Kevin Systrom, the CEO of the photo-sharing service that was snapped up by Facebook earlier this year, announced today that Instagram has turned off support for ‘Twitter cards,’ signaling a deepening rift between two of the web’s biggest brands.

Clarifying the situation today, Mr Systrom released a statement saying: ‘We believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives.’

Of course, it really isn't that big of a deal. Whereas you previously had to click a button to open the picture, you must now click a link to open a new window containing the picture. It takes no more effort and no discernible extra time. If your life is that busy then you probably need to take a step back.

Photos are among the most popular features on both Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram’s meteoric rise in recent years has further proven how picture-sharing has become a key front in the battle for social media supremacy.

Instagram, which has 100 million accounts, allows users to draw on nostalgia and emulate analogue camera techniques with the photos they take on their smartphones, and share the images with their friends; a feature that Twitter has reportedly also begun to develop. Twitter’s executive chairman, Jack Dorsey, was an investor in Instagram and hoped to acquire it before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tabled a successful bid.

The rivalry between Facebook and Twitter intensified in April when the former outbid Twitter to nab fast-growing Instagram in a cash-and-stock deal valued at the time at $1 billion. The acquisition closed in September for roughly $715 million, due to Facebook’s recent stock drop. According to industry sources, the companies’ ties have been strained since. In July, Twitter blocked Instagram from using its data to help new Instagram users find friends.

When Mr Zuckerberg announced the acquisition in an April blog post, he said one of Instagram’s strengths was its inter-connectivity with other social networks and pledged to continue running it as an independent service.

But Instagram, in some ways, is becoming a dominant portal for information in its own right. I've always considered Instagram as just a way to transport photos to other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but more recently Instagram has become a vital part of the Bermuda Triangle of Productivity in its own right.

Facebook is clogged with less than pertinent information (status updates about where someone is and what they are eating), but, similarly, Instagram is chocked with similar amounts of claptrap, if you choose to follow anybody and anyone, as the above video so accurately lampoons.

To make the most of your Instagram (you do have an account don't you?) Whether you are taking photos for personal or business use, check out Mashable's How to choose the best filter for your Instagram photos or Transworld Business' Five simple tips to make the most of Instragram

If you aren't too busy clicking Instragram links on Twitter or photo-bombing your lunch then you can engage with other users by taking part in Instragram's weekly hashtag project.

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instragram's Community Team. They choose a theme, users go nuts taking photos around that topic and then upload with the related hashtag.

Of course, hashtags are a dangerous territory.

Well, there's two reasons. Firstly, we are ruining the English language because we are as thick as two short planks. The other reason is that users can attempt to gain more followers by using a lot of hashtags.

Hashtags are used as a categorization and search device. So, let’s say a user hashtags his or her photo as #sunset, then when another user searches #sunset that photo may show up in the search, get clicked on, perhaps Liked and possibly result in a new follower. Well, that's the theory.

This doesn't work with obscure and lengthy hashtags like Rob Blatt's 139-character Twitter hashtag which set the world record. Rob's amazing achievement was no doubt met with fame and blow jobs.