Twitter and Instagram Go Their Separate Ways

by Anne Reuss

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An announcement Wednesday morning from Instagram made its users shudder.  Their art would no longer look good in Twitter’s world.

Instagram’s integration with Twitter Cards (to display multimedia in tweets) has been disabled because “we want to direct users to where the content lives originally,” Instagram chief Kevin Systrom said at the LeWeb conference on Wednesday in Paris. Mind you, Twitter hasn’t been angelic either – they had cut off “find my Twitter friends” feature on Instagram.

When I got the bad news I did not take sides and I tried to consider the advantages in the user experience. Would it be enhanced? Would we spend more time on the Instagram website and develop a greater appreciation for sepia filters? At that moment I remembered how I cringe when people post tweets to Facebook – social networks are unique landscapes with features each to their own that make (or made) them adored.

But there’s something people love more – sharing. The ability to share seamlessly unifies our digital identities, but the social networks tend to fragment things.  If you don’t want a social network’s user experience to incorporate sharing, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

I reported to the Chief Investigator and speak the truth she does:

Companies who understand it’s about everyone are the ones who win. Think of what Apple did when it allowed any company to create an app. Creating barriers to the way your customers WANT to interact will just create workarounds you can’t control and harbor ill-will for your community. This is clearly not what users want.

Is it Money Talk?

When my fellow users and I were groaning on Facebook, one went as far to claim they would not survive through next year because they’ve been acquired by a larger brand (Facebook in April). Facebook needs to develop monetization strategies so they likely recognized Instagram ‘s potential to bring more traffic to the website ( and most likely incorporate advertisements under their conditions.

What about the Customer Experience?

Customers don’t want to be controlled. If you take something away they will probably upset some. You could at least ask. The user experience translates to the customer experience. Mobile, digital and other touchpoints should reflect the overall experience and stay true to their brand promise. Allow me to show you Instagram’s promise.

Sharing to Twitter won’t be as easy as pie anymore. But if this breakup is what Instagram needs to stay alive and prosper , then so be it. The mobile experience is still extremely satisfying so they haven’t lost me – yet.

How do you feel? Is your experience negatively affected?

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