On Tuesday morning, DM Lab held a webinar entitled “Winning the Visual Revolution.” In the presentation, we talked all about how to leverage visual content to get the most engagement. Then, the very next morning, I wake up to a NYT article that starts with these five words: “Welcome to the Photo Wars.”
Early this morning, Instagram disabled the ability for Twitter to properly display Instagrams photos…
And poof! just like that, some of our favorite ninja tactics are evolving, without warning. Still, our thesis from Tuesday’s “What Working Now” session remains extremely relevant. In fact, it seems that we hit the nail on the head… even more so than we thought (and we’re pretty full of ourselves).
Apparently, the visual revolution is no longer a cold war. Facebook, using Instagram as a proxy, is starting to heat things up.
Facebook paid $1B for Instagram earlier this year, and it wants all the engagement it paid for… so it’s no longer allowing Twitter to display Instagram photos in all their glory. Instead, the images appear cropped and incomplete. Here’s the announcement that Twitter posted to users:
“Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter. Issues include cropped images. This is due to Instagram disabling its Twitter cards integration, and as a result, photos are being displayed using a pre-cards experience.”
On it’s face (pardon the pun), it seems like a jerky, scarcity minded play on Facebook’s part. The intra-network sharing ability has undoubtedly been a huge factor in Instagram’s success. Without the auto-sharing functionality, Instagram may never have grown to critical mass.
Maybe Twitter’s very image-heavy redesign had something to do with Instagram’s decision to suddenly stop supporting sharing on Twitter. The timing seems extremely suspect.
It’s worth mentioning that a record number of tablets will probably be sold this holiday season, and a record number of social apps downloaded, etc. So it’s a highly strategic time to pull something like this.