Twitter vs. Instagram – why it doesn’t make any sense

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There has been some speculating on why this is happening and what consequences this might bring for twitter, Instagram & Facebook. Last week I also commented on this matter for Latvian PR news outlet – 7guru.lv.

It started as a somewhat logical action from the twitter – they removed their integration in the popular photo sharing app Instagram. Most likely this was out of fear from Facebook – this way they gained direct access to (valuable, if I might add) data of connections between users on Twitter itself (Some while ago Facebook bought Instagram).

Instagram responded by removing their integration with Twitter cards (the possibility to see photos shared on Instagram directly in Twitter’s web & native app’s interface).

Also, Twitter have released new feature that (according to some sources) is meant to compete with Instagram – photo filters. They aren’t as good as Instagram’s, but they’re there.

Twitter isn’t a photo app

Twitter’s beauty is in the short messages, which are timely and let us know what’s happening in the world around us. This is why I believe they are being silly when trying to beat Instagram at its own game. Twitter isn’t perceived as photo service. Yes, pictures are a good way how to pass info via twitter, but it isn’t the place where to showcase them. There are plenty of services for this which are much better for that.

So, I think that twitter has been wasting resources while working on this. Their product isn’t perfect – actually it’s far from perfect. A long time ago in Twitter’s native iPhone app there was an option to see nearby tweets. That was cool and, in my opinion, exactly the path Twitter should have chosen. There still isn’t a way how to see what’s going on nearby and that’s a pity. Twitter has to come up with ways of curating information, because advertising in the right context is where the money will go. Right now they’re pretty weak at this (compared to how they might be at this).

Twitter is so big, they can beat Instagram

Yeah, right. I learned my lesson on this back when Facebook introduced places & check-ins. A lot of people said that Foursquare was done. Destined to be forgotten. And let me remind – Foursquare compared to Facebook was tiny. Right now (correct me if I’m wrong) twitter has about 150 million active users, but Instagram is following it closely with 100 million. So I’m not going to make this assumption that in this case size does matter. It really doesn’t.

And as I mentioned earlier, while pictures are a part of twitter’s experience, they shouldn’t be their main focus – it just isn’t in twitter’s DNA. But it is in Instagram’s. 

Verdict

This is just silly. Twitter has taken a wrong turn. Instagram might lose some users who explicitly like to share photos on twitter. And I hope that Facebook knows what it’s doing with their hefty investment

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Māris Antons

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