Facebook’s Suprisingly Humble, $1 Billion Acquisition of Instagram
If you’re a Facebook user, you should be ecstatic. One assumes that Instagram’s vaunted photo filters, which make everything look a little cooler, will make their way into Facebook’s photo tools and mobile app.
If you’re an Instagram user, you may be wary. First, Instagram is a relatively closed network that operates very differently from Facebook. Sure, you can link it to Tumblr or Facebook or Twitter to publicly post photos, but you can also keep Instagram photos off the open web. That closedness allows me to post more intimate looks into my life than I might feel comfortable with on other platforms. Second, any time one big company acquires a smaller one, it’s natural to worry that Facebook would absorb the Instagram tools and then shut the actual service down.
But, based on Zuckerberg’s post, I don’t think Instagrammers have to worry. At least not yet. His note about the acquisition is shockingly humble and seems designed to assure users that Facebook is not plotting to close down Instagram. […]
I’m going to float an idea about why Zuckerberg strikes, what seems to me, the perfect tone. I think Facebook and Zuckerberg really do “get social.” I bet he understands that social networks have to develop organically and that the actual software itself is a tiny piece of the overall social network proposition. What really makes Instagram (and Facebook) work is the time that people have invested tuning their connections based on what they do on these services. To ram a social network that users built doing one thing into a different social network built just doesn’t work.
It’s smarter, in other words, to figure out why Instagram’s users built their networks on the service rather than try to dump those users into Facebook.
All that means is that Zuckerberg appears to be coming to the Instagram acquisition not as conqueror, but as student.
Read more. [Image: Alexis Madrigal/Instagram]