Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Photography

Instagram Is Suffering From A Case Of Twitter

99 times out of 100 I agree with Gizmodo.  Their writing, insights and thought leadership are usually spot on.  But, in a recent article titled, “Cut It Out Instagram Cheaters!” they’re definitely not seeing the forest for the trees. Nearly 2 years ago I wrote the following regarding Twitter’s business model:

“The problem with Twitter remains it has never innovated. All of the innovation has come through acquisition (eg Summize) or by third party products (eg Tweetdeck). For a company focused on the real time web, they certainly are quite glacial in their innovation. I think people will become bored by Twitter. Well, many people are, as evident by the fact 60% of people who create an account post once and never come back. 1 Billion? I just don’t see it.”

Fast forward to today and I was spot on.

  1. Twitter acquired Tweetdeck and Atebits to improve the app based twitter experience
  2. While the number of new accounts has increased, my 60/40 ratio has held true and actually gotten worse for twitter
  3. Google+ launched and has already siphoned off a large portion of twitter’s base
Mat Honan, who wrote the Gizmodo piece does a GREAT job of outlining ALL of Instagram’s MANY shortfalls.  Among them:
Instagram does not have a web-upload option. It barely has a website. It’s entirely mobile, and photos can only be sought-out through the app. Sure, each photo generates its own URL, but you can only get that URL if the photo is posted on another service like Facebook.

Given the overall tone of this post, you’d think I wasn’t a fan of Instagram.  Quite the contrary, I LOVE Instagram. I’ve recommended Instagram to and/or helped signup no less than 50 people.  I even tried to pitch Instragram on partnering with us at Walgreens…they declined, indicated they were not doing partnerships, and referred me to their API documentation.  Bummer.

I think they’ve built a great mobile app.  But, that’s what it is right now…an app.  Not a platform.  Not a network.  An app.  So long as it remains just an app with an API, the innovation will come from other hungrier and more innovative developers.  For example:

Postagram: Let’s you create postcards out of your Instagram photos.

Blurb: Let’s you create keepsake books from your Instagram photos.

I think what Mat is really frustrated over though are the clones/competitors that are popping up and creating Instagram like tools that aren’t built on the Instagram API and not germain to the “Insta” nature of Instagram.  For example Daniel Box’s GREAT Photoshop Actionsthat let you recreate the Instagram experience without ever using their app.

This photo, for example was taken on a DSLR (Nikon D700) and then processed using Daniel’s Photoshop Action.  I chose the Earlybird filter.

I think this type of innovation is a good thing.  Remember, Smartphones are still less than 40% of the market and on top of that Instagram ONLY works on the iPhone.

As Mat says in his article, “There is obviously no right way to Instagram. You use it for what you use it for.”  So long as Instagram continues to take a snail’s speed approach to innovation, other developers will bring to market features that fill in the gaps Instagram is creating.  I’m actually bummed by it all.  I love Instagram.  As an avid photographer I can see so much potential.  It’s disheartening to see them act more like IBM and less like a startup.  Instagram by design is supposed to be social, yet how they use social media to improve the product is decidedly unsocial.

1 Camera, 1 Lens, 1 Photo, 1 Year

I’ve done some crazy photo projects in the past.  Probably the one I had the most fun with was the 1 picture a day project I did for Cora and John. So this got me thinking that maybe my project for 2011 should be photo related and equally as taxing.  I say taxing, because committing yourself to a project like this is a labor of love.

But, I like challenges.  I thought about shooting 1 photo every day for the next year using just my Nikon D700 and my Nikon 50mm 1.4.  I had thought about picking up a Nikon P7000 for the project.  The compact point and shoot would certainly make things easier, but I’m not sure even I could justify $425.00 just for the project.  I may still end up doing it.

It’s going to be fun.  It’s going to be EPIC.

This is photo #1.  Not a bad way to ring in the New Year!  That’s my hand in the upper left.  See, I’m not always just behind the camera!

5 Things Bugging Me Right Now

I’m limiting this list of things that bug me to only 10.  I could probably create a list that goes upward of 100.

  1. Sites that have content being indexed by Google, but then require you to join or login to view the content.  This is just a horrible user experience.  I search for something.  I see a link with some descriptor copy that appears to be exactly what I want – so I click on it.  Only 1 problem though, instead of seeing the content I was hoping to see, I get a login/register page.  The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, and The New York Times are notorious for this.
  2. Re-touching.  I’ve long said, I think Ansel Adams was a crappy photographer and an amazing darkroom magician.  He didn’t make his magic behind the camera, he made it in the dark room.  With the recent turmoil over the Kelly Clarkson “Self” cover, this issue is back in the news.  As a more than amateur photographer, I have a big problem with people taking photos, Photoshopping the hell out of them and then passing them off as originals.  That’s not very transparent is it?
  3. Companies adding a bunch of social networking icons to the footer or the header is not the answer to creating a social site.  Don’t get me wrong, I think adding those icons is the first step.  Not only does is help with SEO, but it allows you to add richer content without changing your sites infrastructure.  But, right now too many companies think that just adding those icons somehow somehow solves all of their social “media” needs.
  4. Analysts that only focus on providing “positive” commentary and clearly avoiding constructive criticism.  I get the feeling a lot of analysts are struggling with how to be honest about their “friends.”  There’s a great scene in the movie “Almost Famous” where Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character (Lester Bangs) offers some advice to Patrick Fugit’s character (William Miller) about how to write a great column.  The advice is simple, “Be honest and unmerciful.”  I think a great number of analysts, especially the Forrester ones could learn something from that simple line.
  5. We need universal FREE wiFi.  If not free, close to it.  Let’s agree that innovation is a critical component to growth.  Let’s agree that having the right tools helps you innovate faster.  Let’s agree that this country is falling dramatically behind our nations when it comes to innovation.  Let’s also agree that the internet for a variety of reason propels innovation and thinking forward.  If we can agree on all of the above, then how does it make sense that we are charging more and more for a sub-standard infrastructure.  If you think I’m crazy, just check out this article or this information about South Korea’s internet access.  If we want great ideas to come from this country, we need to rethink our approach to propelling those ideas forward.

Thanks for listening.  Had to get that out of my system.