The History of Instagram: The Photographic Social Network From Its Origins to Today

Born as a simple photo sharing application, Instagram it quickly conquered the world, transforming itself into one of the most influential and used social platforms on the planet. From small startup to tech industry giant, Instagram’s journey has been marked by innovations, acquisitions and significant changes. In this article we tell you about the key moments experienced by the platform, explaining how it became the social network we know today and also taking a look at what it could become in the future.

The concept behind Instagram: photos at the center of everything

The Instagram app was born Wednesday, October 6, 2010 from an intuition of Kevin Systrom And Mike Krieger, two young entrepreneurs with a passion for photography and technology. The idea was simple but, for that time, also revolutionary: create an app that allowed users to take photos, apply filters and quickly share them with their friends. The name “Instagram” comes from the combination of “instant” (i.e. “instantaneous”) and “canvasesgram” (i.e. “telegram”), underlining the immediacy of visual sharing.

Since its “day zero,” Instagram has had a place photos at the center of the user experienceJust think of the many photo filters available in the app, which allowed you to enhance and personalize your images: these played a key role in the initial success of the platform, giving it a nice boost of growth which, in the space of a couple of months or so, allowed her to reach the psychological threshold of million active users every month.

Instagram’s rapid rise on Google and Apple stores has not gone unnoticed, attracting the attention of various companies operating in the social network sector. In particular, Facebook, the social network created by Mark Zuckerbergwhich in 2012 acquired the platform for the astronomical sum of 1 billion dollars, in shares and cash.

Instagram’s Transformation After Facebook Acquisition

After the acquisition of Facebook, a period of deep transformation for Instagram, which went from being the rising star of a startup to a giant in the social media space, thanks to funding from Facebook itself, which led to a major acceleration in the development of the platform. This acceleration has allowed Instagram not to fall behind several competitors who could have stolen the show from the photographic social network.

In the June 2013for example, theInstagram 4.0 updatewhich added to the platform the possibility of record 15 second videos: a small “revolution” for a platform whose initial idea was to exclusively share photographs.

This allowed Instagram to counter the popularity of Snapchat, which in those years was going particularly strong among the younger ones due to the sharing of videos that self-destructed after they were opened. In 2016, it was probably also thanks to Snapchat that Instagram decided to focus more on video content, increasing the maximum length of videos that could be shared up to 60 seconds and, a few months later, to launch the Stories function: content in photo, video or text format, to be embellished with filters, stickers, etc., of the duration of 24 hours.

A further renovation from a functional point of view took place in 2020when Instagram introduced the Reels functionthanks to which users could create and share short 15 second clips: a clear response to the Chinese social network TikTok, which has built its success and virality precisely on the sharing of short videos by users together with an algorithm that is particularly good at intercepting the latter’s tastes to keep them “glued” to the platform (but that’s another story).

What will be the future of Instagram?

From a “simple” photographic social network, Instagram has become a mature and feature-rich platform. According to some, it has partly lost its initial identity, which is physiological when you aim to reach enormous numbers (for the record It currently has over 2 billion users). By virtue of this we ask ourselves what will be the future of Instagram?, particularly if and how the platform will evolve. It is difficult to make predictions although, given the historical period we are living in, it is likely that the next wave of functions will not be inspired by competitors, but by the overwhelming wave of artificial intelligence.