Unless you have been living under a rock, you have likely heard that Instagram is changing their terms of service. To put it mildly, the Internet went all up in arms. Now Instagram has since issued a new statement saying they would tone down/change their new terms and conditions. A very smart PR move.
Now in the midst of this Instagram debacle, Flickr launched a new mobile app. Remember, trusty nine-year-old Flickr. By all indications, they have a great app. Fellow blogger and friend, Craig Kanalley wrote a great post about Flickr’s functionality. While I’m not going to be switching to Flickr anytime soon like Craig, the Flickr app has many of the things that Instagram offers and actually a few more.
Before Instagram came along, Flickr had a fairly strong community. They were arguably the photo site for the Web. However, they became complacent and not willing to adjust to the newest technological and mobile innovations. Their growth stagnated and they became just a “photography site.” They relied solely on their Yahoo connection and largely ignored mobile and other social media integration, until very recently.
Now just like Myspace, Flickr is trying to reinvent itself. They face similar, uphill problems. That’s a large user base that has largely abandoned their platform. Simply put, they have lost relevance. It’s very hard to regain relevance and the “cool factor” once you have lost it. Two things that are super necessary if you ever want to rebuild a large, robust community again.
Sure, Flickr now has a snazzy new mobile app, cool filters, and a lot of ideas. But so, what? There is one MAJOR thing Flickr doesn’t have. That’s the large, active community that Instagram has done such a great job of cultivating. You can build an awesome mobile interface, create cool tools and filters, but if you don’t have a strong, robust community it means nothing. That’s where I predict Flickr will fall very, very short.
Instagram is unique in the sense that it’s more than just a photography site. It’s the first mobile social network. Of course, it’s centered around creating and sharing photos, but it has dynamic built-in community features. These includes likes, comments, and heavily integrated hashtags. Some hashtags like #instagood, #tweegram, #instasleep and #instamood have taken on a life of their own.
While I predict many people will test out the new Flickr app, I don’t see it replacing Instagram anytime soon. The Flickr changes are much-needed, but ultimately a little too late.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.