On Instagram and growth

At first, I was excited to read this:
You Can Now Post Full Size Instagram Pics To Facebook (And Timeline).

But on second thought, I’m not so sure.

What’s interesting to me about incredible growth of Instagram is that it has occured inside a very small (for lack of a better term coming to mind) area of exsposure.


In other words, Instagram users are iPhone users and only iPhone users.

And at first I thought that was limiting their success. But it could just be that is a key reason they have exploaded the way they have.

As a long time Android user, I’ve been watching Instagram from the sidelines. I see my family and friends use it daily but I couldn’t break in to the community because there was no app for my Sprint-powered Nexus S.

In a way, it reminds me of early 2006 when I was working with a group of college seniors on a political campaign. I’d watch them spend all day with facebook.com open in their browsers and it didn’t take me long to know I wanted needed in. But I had to wait. I didn’t have a .edu email address. I wasn’t a part of the group.

Now think about Instagram. How do you view Instagram photos? Discovery is frequently made on Twitter and until now less frequently made on Facebook. But really the only way to view a river feed of photos is within the app. The whole experience, really, is inside their iOS app. That’s really limiting their audience and in a way I think contributing to its growth. Not everyone can have it. But it seems like everyone is using it. And the people that are actually using it share a commonality (in this case, iOS). Sounds a lot like Facebook, circa 2006.

So in mid-Decemeber, I bought an unlocked iPhone (more on that later).
And now I’ve finally become a part of the Instagram community.

But now I wonder what the future holds for a company that (perhaps unintentionally) has thrived on such exclusivity.