Story of An App
Last month the world was surprised with the news that Facebook was acquiring Instagram, the free photo sharing program that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it on a variety of social networking services including Instagram’s own. The highlight news was that this two year old application was worth 1 billion US dollars, marking it as the most expensive application bought in history, even more expensive than the New York Times. And it only took a minute for Facebook’s ‘big boss’ Mark Zuckerberg to decide to buy it.
What is so cool about Instagram that everybody is talking about it (and had Mark deciding to buy it)? With the rapid growth of users joining everyday, this application is changing the way people share about everything in their daily life. They can create photos and enchance them with 17 filters for dramatic effect without having to learn about photography. Because the device is on their mobile phone they can do it whenever and wherever, taking pictures about everything they see in daily life.
Since launching the Android version, every day there are about one million more people joining the network and uploading millions of photos to Instagram so this is why Mark decided to buy it. What makes it’s so special is that they also can socialize by sharing the pictures on their networks and other social networking sites, also joining in many communities in Instagram. They can like, comment, and see where the picture was taken, and even flag it when the picture uploaded is not appropriate.
Instagram has also become a phenomenon in Indonesia. The people love mobile devices as well as socializing, so this application is easily accepted by the people. In Indonesia there are several Instagram communities that have active members posting thousands of pictures every day. They communicate and create closer relationships with each of
One of the biggest communities in Indonesia is #iphonesia, consisting of (i)Device (Pho)tographer Indo(nesia), that was introduced on January 12, 2011 by Gunawan HP, Aries Lukman, Kezia Susanto and Riswan Christianto. Its members are very active in hosting gatherings and exhibitions to show the artwork of the users. In Bali itself, the community of Instagram gathers under #ibalinesia, created by Rabindra, General Manager of OZ Bali Radio. This community is part of iphonesia to gather Bali’s Instagrammers and people who take photos about Bali. So far there have been more than 8,000 photos uploaded to this community.
“Sunsets and animals are the most popular photos that are most easy to get ‘likes’ among users, and Bali has the most beautiful sunsets and beaches that are the envy of people living outside Bali,” said Rabindra. He also explained that many of the Instagramers have contacted him asking him to guide them visiting the beautiful places in Bali.
Seeing this as an opportunity to introduce Bali especially to overseas users, Rabindra created a team to organize a ‘photography tour’ to those visiting Bali. Last month his team was successful in guiding about 200 Instagramers from Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia and took them all around this island taking pictures of everything they saw during their journey. Not only the tour itself, but the #ibalinesia team also arranged the accommodation, transportation and many things necessary during their visit, just like a small and independent travel agent.
As one of the social networks, Instagram can play a big role in promoting something, including a destination. With its Geo Tagging, people on the network can know where the picture was taken and help them to visit it. With the rapid growth of its users, this application can become a good PR tool with which to promote tourism in a positive way and attract more and more tourists. This also creates a new way of tourism called photography tourism, focusing on picturesque destinations for people whose hobby is photography.
Back to our topic earlier, will there be an effect after Facebook acquires Instagram? Rabindra said it might worry existing users who are afraid that Instagram will lose its function as an art sharing platform. He’s afraid that it could turn into a selling and promoting tool.
“Since Instagram created an Android platform, there are some new users who have posted promotional materials, which can cause an inconvenience to the existing users. And I am afraid that by being acquired by Facebook, it will be not fun again. But let’s hope that there won’t be narcissist photos, or even product photos. We can ban people who ignore the disclaimer about the terms and conditions of submitting photos or messages in our mailing list, but we cannot avoid pictures tagged on #ibalinesia. So we’ll see what happens next.”
Text by Intan Tanjung
Share this article on:
Posted by » Bali and Beyond Magazine