The world of social networks is always in flux, with some services rising in popularity as others stagnate—or even fall. Instagram is just the latest example. On the net, tastes change—sometimes rather quickly.
In April 2012, Instagram, then only two years old, was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. It only served around 30 million people and it had only recently extended its service beyond the iPhone. But on the first day the Android version hit, the app was downloaded over a million times, and its growth has continued apace. Over the past nine months, Instagram’s user base grew 50 percent, while Twitter’s active users grew by only 4.8 percent in the last quarter.
Instagram’s growth may be due, in part, to its role as a kind of news service, offering its feed of photos as a form of communication that’s much simpler to decode than Twitter’s fast-moving, text-based feed. But both networks struggle with the same problem: How do you make sense of a constant flow of information? Twitter’s solutions, things like hashtags and location-based tweets, often don’t simplify things. Instagram, with its purely visual approach, is much more straightforward.
And Instagram wants you to know that its growth is, well, real. On Thursday, the company made good on its promise to clean up the spam on its network, purging millions of fake accounts. Follower counts of celebrities and many other users dropped drastically, causing a backlash some dubbed the “Instagram Rapture.” But it’s a commendable move. Bots now outnumber humans on the internet, and on social networks, they don’t serve much of a purpose. Except to feed your vanity.
source: wired.com By Davey Alba