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Instagram’s critics don’t get curated creativity

July 20, 2012

According to Matthew Ingram, writing in GigaOm, Instagram, is coming under fire from critics for taking photography away from the professionals and putting it into the hands of untalented amateurs.

The critics appear to be slamming the users of the service for sharing the banal elements of their lives pushed through filters to make them look more attractive than they really are, or using the service to show off their material possessions and fabulous lifestyles.

The critics are missing the point.

The breakdown, breakup and democratization of artistic talent has been a decade in the making and the evidence is everywhere from music creation on laptop videos to the rise and rise of YouTube.

Photography has been going amateur for ages, with the rise of powerful digital cameras and photo sharing sites like Flickr.

So, it’s been happening for decades- everyone can now play.

But, here’s what’s new- it isn’t photography as usual- it’s photography as social currency, which is completely different. Services like Instagram are huge and worth a $1 billion because they allow people to connect through the images they share. No one is trying to pretend that these photos compare with the best images in the world, but people want to grab an interesting shot of something that’s around them at that moment in time and importantly share it.

Instagramography, isn’t old-school photography- it’s social glue- people are using it connect and that’s why Facebook paid the big bucks, because they recognize that images create powerful bonds between people when they are shared.

For brands, the shift is essential to understand because this is one step beyond consumer created and all about the idea of curated creativity.

The idea that people are connecting with others via the documentation and recording of their experiences, this means brands need to find clever ways to capture the experiences that happen around their brands and to make sure they have experiences worthy of capture and documentation.


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