Lauren Gray is a senior public relations major at Western Carolina University interested in PR, marketing and social media. She currently serves at the PRSSA National Vice President of Public Relations and an Editorial Assistant with Social Fresh. Connect with her on Twitter @laurenkgray for more information or just to talk! 



As you may have seen if you’ve been reading Facebook, Twitter, any blog or been on social media at all, you know Facebook acquired Instagram.

Why did Facebook buy Instagram in the first place? What does this mean for social media for the future?

From Mark Zuckerburg’s post himself:

“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”

Basically: Facebook has realized that Instagram would have been a continued competitor with it’s mobile photo sharing and with the release of Instagram to Android, the company was about to explode even more.

2012 has proven to be THE year of visual. “For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family,” Zuckerberg said. “Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”

Facebook saw the opportunity to buy this huge gold mind and they took that opportunity. Instagram was a wildly successful app in just a year.  Facebook lacked a strong and really stand-out mobile photo sharing presence and it realized Instagram was excelling in that aspect.

Part of me really thinks that Facebook really wanted what Instagram had: more of a personal community. Instagram is more personal, to most people. You share your photos throughout your day and your life with your friends. Sure, people somewhat do that on Facebook too, but not to the extent of Instagram.

Should we be concerned, I do not think anyone is sure yet. Just because Gowalla shut down soon after Facebook bought it does not mean Instagram is shutting down. I think Facebook will mostly leave Instagram alone, but import a lot of the features Instagram offers over to Facebook mobile app too.

Zuckerberg has also said they would not change Instagram in a significant way. “We’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently,” Zuckerberg said on a post on his Facebook feed.

What we can expect from this for the future of social media is a continued focus on the importance of mobile apps and mobile sharing and a continued focus on the importance of being visual as companies and individuals.