The Smoothie of Social Media Apps

The Smoothie of Social Media Apps

How Instagram stays relevant and owns our data. About a decade ago, Instagram piloted its photo-based mobile check-in app. The app’s launch was a success.

About a decade ago, Instagram piloted its photo-based mobile check-in app. The app’s launch was a success — it took less than a quarter of a year for the app to gain one million users. The app’s emphasis on sharing images complemented the growth in the popularity of camera phones.

Instagram became increasingly popular and threatened Facebook’s dominance in the social media space. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram, in a move many allege was Facebook “playing offense”.

Today, the app still retains its original features — the home screen is a series of vivid images uploaded by accounts that a user follows — but has since included many more forms of sharing information.


In 2016, Instagram released its “stories” feature, following Snapchat’s burst in popularity and a series of failed acquisition talks. Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 was already a large concern for users and critics who alleged the deal was an acqui-hire that would lead to Instagram shutting down.

This latest addition to the app gained a lot of attention as it appeared to copy Snapchat’s primary feature — content viewable only a certain number of times or for a defined period of time before it “expires”. Both Snapchat and Instagram improved their “stories” concepts by adding emojis, filters, links, and AR-based features. Instagram has since been able to differentiate itself by allowing users to make certain stories permanently viewable from their profile.

Facebook then added stories to its main platform, and WhatsApp gained a new tab called “status”, which became another platform for users to share “stories” with their contacts.

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