The Best, Unintended Purposes of Instagram
May 11, 2011
One of the most interesting things about open social networks like Twitter, or more recently Instagram, is that most of the innovations that happen there are crowdsourced. Some smart people come up with an original idea to solve a specific problem or fill a very particular niche, and then the users take over and alter the focus. The users never ask for permission to change the focus. They just do it through their own actions.
Those unintended purposes are often the perfect uses. And here’s a great example, brought to my attention last week by my colleague Jeremy Pawelek:
“A fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through pictures.” The death of Osama Bin Laden hardly seems to fit that description. So perhaps it’s time for Instagram to change the description of what they do. Or maybe it’s time for ABC to update their old tagline: More Americans get their news from Instagram than from any other source.
Neither of those things is likely to happen. But it doesn’t make the idea any less relevant.
With over 20,000 followers, ABC has found a great new way to reach an audience. (NPR has a following of over 30,000. CNN and other news organizations are finding big followings as well.) The audience has discovered a new way to absorb the news on their own terms. Together, the signal and receiver have again changed the shape of an emerging medium… to an extent.
So… what new, paradigm-shifting, unintended purpose are you going to find among the myriad new social mediums? (You better hurry if you want to be the first.)
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline. Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, GE and National Instruments.