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Android and the Instagram Community

Posted: 9/04/2012 07:15

Instagr.am, the hugely popular image sharing iPhone community finally launched on Android this week, adding one million users in the first 24 hours of being available (disclosure: I was among that group).

The mobile app, which had been "coming soon" for Android for what seems like forever, was already in a prime position to dominate the image sharing market with 30 million iOS users, a spot surely secured by Monday's Facebook acquisition.

We've witnessed two interesting community behaviours occur in the immediate aftermath of the highly anticipated Android launch; the existing community have refused to accept their new members with open arms, and a whole bunch of Droiders have decided they (check the comments) don't really like Instagr.am anyway.

The community who have been in place since the app's development are reacting against the new arrivals. They feel protective over what they consider 'rightfully theirs' and do not want the existing harmony disrupted. The way that this has been demonstrated is through humour and, in some cases, outright hostility towards the Android community.

Secondly, potential new entrants react against the perceived 'accepted norm' - a classic 'well if you're going that way, I'm heading in the opposite direction' behaviour that is wonderfully amplified by the Internet. The opportunity to be seen as different and not following the herd in this case is presented by the Internet and the vast number of different image-sharing apps that are available. The whole point is that you use the tool that you're happiest using, and contribute to the community you find most valuable, informative or entertaining.

It will now be interesting to see whether the acquisition strengthens the resolve of either group's behaviour.

A community will behave how it wants to behave, and only the more influential participants in that community may be able to affect the direction in which it is heading. Instagr.am could look to empower their superusers to encourage the community to be a little more friendly.

As is often the case, the majority of community members have been welcoming and receptive to the new folks on the platform, but it is the loud minority who have had their tweets shared. This group will get gradually quieter as the days pass and the community will settle back into its established rhythm.

Instagr.am do not need to intervene in any of the sniping that's taking place. I'm sure that given the acquisition, Facebook will been even less inclined to get involved. They have said that Instagr.am will remain independent, let's see how that plays out.

As any good community manager knows, 'they'll get bored before you will', allowing you to focus on helping them grow, contribute positively and continue getting them to help make a better end product, for everyone.

 

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