Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media sites of our time. What started out as a lowly place to share photos with friends on the iPhone has quickly blossomed into one of the biggest and baddest social media channels on the market. With milestones such as being bought by Facebook, video sharing, private messages to other users and more, the photo sharing site shows no signs of slowing down. Recently, Instagram users have been seeing some new features implemented into the application. Strangely enough, a lot of these features are very similar to ones that are present throughout Twitter.
You know how it goes on Twitter. When you follow someone on the site, it suggests other Twitter users for you to follow as well. As a result, you usually end up following ten new people when you set out to just follow one. Now on Instagram, following a user will prompt you with a “Suggested” tab with more recommend people to follow on the media-sharing site. This implementation of system like this should greatly increase the amount of followers celebrities and artists/bands will acquire. For example, if you follow the lead singer of a band, you could get recommendations for the drummer, bass player, etc.
Another improvement to Instagram’s feature list includes that of the “Explore” tab. For a while, going to the Explore section of Instagram was a waste of time, as it showed useless photos that users didn’t really care about. However, it’s been seeing some pretty solid improvements. Instead of showing randomly generated photos now, the Explore tab will show pictures you care about that aren’t necessarily from people that you already follow. For example, the Explore tab will now present users with photos/videos “based of people you follow” as well as what is currently “popular in your country.” With more relevant and contextual content showing up in the Explore section of Instagram, it no longer feels like a useless addition to the platform. More importantly though, it very closely resembles that of Twitter’s “Discover” section.
As more and more users see these features appear on their Instagram, both Twitter and Instagram are becoming increasingly alike in regards to services and features they offer. Both Twitter and Instagram allow anyone to follow notable people. Being able to directly follow Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez is a big deal for a lot of people, and as Instagram embraces more of the features that make Twitter so darn great, the more the services are blending together. Each one still has their own set of distinctions, but there’s no doubt that it’s great to see Instagram build upon an already successful platform. Twitter still bests Instagram in the fact that it is currently the best place for up-to-the-minute breaking news and posting full-length videos, but as pictures become more relevant and interesting to users than basic text, the tables could very well change as time goes on. Both social media sites still have room to grow. Now, it is just a matter of who grows the fastest.