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Instagram: The Removal of Mobile Intimacy

By:  Shane Maloy


Instagram … We all love it right?  Those filters can make a bad hair day or some facial blemishes disappear, and those <3′s (likes) can provide such an ego boost!  Until now, we’ve been limited to searching through pictures of our friends, or searching amongst millions of mirror photos, or shots of cats doing things that make us laugh.  However, after Instagram’s latest announcement, we are no longer limited to feeding our addiction on mobile devices.


That’s right.  Instagram is now online.  On Tuesday the company launched their new online site.  Now granted, you still can’t post pictures from anything other than a mobile device, but you can now search through your stream, comment, and like photos, all via your desktop computer.


I purposely chose not to write this article for a few days after its launch to see what effects it may have and what opinions may surface from current users.  So far it hasn’t really changed anything.


SIDE NOTE:  If you’re interested in following me on Instagram, check it!


The truth is Instagram was popular because of its “mobile intimacy” which meant that it could only be used on mobile devices.  It also meant consumers had to spend time on one limited device, committing themselves to the application and the lifestyle (if you want to call it that).


Let’s take a trip in the time machine back to the initial launch by Instagram.  When it first came on the market, it was iPhone only.  You couldn’t even use it on other mobile devices.  There were very few filters, and the user base was small.  But over a few short months, their numbers began to grow because of the simple user experience.  Users could post pictures and view pictures of friends without all the complicated design changes, ads, or other interruptions that Facebook and other social networks were known to have.  That provided the mobile intimacy that we talked out.


Fast-forward a year to the release of the Android app.  Along with adding a few new features, while still maintaining their minimalistic design and user experience, they opened a whole new world of users and compatibility.


Now back to current day. The rollout of their official online version isn’t the first of its kind.  There have been quite a few companies who have done exactly what Instagram did.  By using Instagram’s API, 3rd party sites began creating their own sites and interfaces to search through hashtags and access your feed.


Speaking of searching; that was one point that I was severely disappointed by with Instagram’s new product.  At this point in time, there is no place to search through hashtags or users.  That is still only able to be done through third party services like


Another feature left out by Instagram’s roll-out was the ability to search “non-friends” or access your friend’s activities, such as the pictures your friends liked.  The online version is simply for viewing incoming pictures from your friends, and that’s it.


I still think that Instagram is moving in the right direction by bringing their content curating and access online, considering the number of people, like me, who are able to spend more time multi-tasking on their computers than always looking at their phones.


Before I go, I just wanted to mention a thought that came to my head after hearing of the launch:


What in the world is Facebook thinking?!?!  Seriously?  Facebook bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars, yet continues to grow Instagram as a separate entity.  As a fan of Facebook, I would have loved to see them tie the ability to search through Instagram photos on Facebook, especially after the newly released graph search.  However, this move by Instagram seems to separate the two further.  I guess we will see what the future holds as far as an eventual merge goes, if that ever happens.


For more insight from Shane, check out his blog here


Shane is a audiophile and designer from Orlando FL. He started on his first website design project at 15 years old, and has fallen deeper in love ever since. He's a writer, musician, technology freak and loves quality time with those he loves.