Facebook purchased Instagram on Monday for the whopping price tag of $1 billion, and already some users are beginning to cry foul.
Jonny Miller, 24, of St. Louis, Mo. and a freelance photographer specializing in portraits, editorial and sports said he’s not excited about the merge, but is waiting to hear more about Facebook’s plans for the creative photo app to make his final judgment.
“It depends on what they’re going to do with it,” he said. “I like it as a separate entity than Facebook…It’s almost good being separate because it’s almost an exclusivity thing.
“There’s a different kind of mentality on Instagram than there is on Facebook and I’m not so sure that the mixture of the two is going to be a good thing.”
However, Instagram has become a vital form of expression to users in the college community and beyond because of its easy and fun way to post photos.
Miller spends most of his time taking photos for work, but he decided to bring the fun back into his photography and downloaded Instagram for his iPhone three weeks ago, he said.
Since then, he’s been using his jmiller_photo profile to upload photos of his dog, projects he’s been working on and to stay on top of his photography game.
“It helps me stay on my game if I can see what people are just shooting for fun, there’s that standard,” he said. “And I can see that standard and I make sure that I’m better than that standard — that way people can see [my pictures] and say ‘Oh okay, this is much better than what I can take and what I can do. This is why I’m paying him money to do what he does.’”
Instagram also allows users to link their profile directly to their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Miller takes full advantage of this ability to promote his photography, he said.
“For me (linking) is good because if I’m on a location shoot or something and can take a quick shot to say ‘Hey this is what I’m shooting today, check it out,’ to get people interested so that later when I post something to Facebook or do a blog post, there’s already that initial banter,” he said.
David Lawrence, 31, of Jackson, Mich., also utilizes the ability to link his Instagram profile with his Facebook page to give people a look into what’s happening in his life.
“I don’t update my Facebook status with text,” he said. “My status updates are Instagram photos. They speak more to what I’m doing and seeing in my life.”
“Instagram serves as kind of a journal of everyday life, whether that’s what you’re seeing or doing at any given time. I now think in terms of ‘is this a good Instagram shot?’ when I’m out doing everyday things. It’s made me appreciate everything I see and do and maybe see the world a bit differently.”
Lawerence jumped on the Instagram bandwagon in November 2010 after deciding to take his personal photography to a new level, he said.
“I bought a Canon T1i and started to take the photos I’ve always wanted to take, but Instagram gave me a no-frills creative outlet,” he said.
Since then he has posted regularly to Instagram with 317 photos to date on his davelawrence8 profile.
“I use Instagram mostly for personal reasons, just because photography is a hobby and it’s fun,” he said. “But in a way, it’s helped me professionally because people see a photo from me every single day, and I think it works as a kind of advertising for my photography business.”
Carly Heitlinger, a marketing major at Georgetown University, uses her collegeprepster profile on Instagram to add personal touches to her blog, The College Prepster, she said.
“Sometimes I’ll upload Instagrams as a blog post if I want to tell a story,” she said. “My blog only gets personal every now and then, so having the Instagram photos to share the more personal aspects of The College Prepster is fun.”
Heitlinger had an Android phone and began using Instagram by sending photos from her phone to her iPad, she said.
“I switched to the iPhone in December and fell in love with Instagram,” she said. “I like how easy it is to share pictures to all sorts of platforms with just one click. The social networking aspect of it is an added bonus — I follow friends, other bloggers and my favorite brands.”
Following people for the content they post is one reason Bethany Parry, public relations major at Missouri State University, said she uses her Instagram profile bparry08, which is littered with photos of her favorite Instagram subject: latte art.
“Usually I will only follow people that interest me or if what they’re taking photos of interests me,” she said. “It’s more about the content they’re giving, which also kind of overflows with Pinterest, kind of the same mentality where you want to follow people that are giving content that is interesting.”
As a PR major, being up with the latest technology is vital and applications like Instagram are just one of the tools companies are using to communicate, Parry said.
“It is so important to just be on top of every new form of communication because that’s essentially what PR does, it helps manage communication and if there’s a better way, or a new way to communicate your organization’s story, that makes you a better professional,” she said.
But when it comes down to it, using Instagram is just plain fun and that’s why she’s stuck with the app, Parry said.
“(Instagram) is just a fun way to make your photos look so much better,” she said. “And it’s so easy. It makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you can take better pictures than you probably can.”
Facebook declined to comment on this article because of “IPO quiet period restrictions,” according to Katie Foley, spokesperson for Facebook, and Instagram could not be reached for comment before press time.
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