Going Viral On Twitter: Instagram Transforms Your Photos

Step aside, Flickr. There's a new photosharing phenomenon taking over iPhone screens everywhere called Instagram. This time it's all happening on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, and it has people addicted.

How exactly does an iPhone app get released on October 6th and a mere two months later have dedicated fan base of over one million users? By taping into our innate need for feedback using the viral nature of social media, that’s how.

The wildly popular Instagram takes a very simple and common concept – taking photos with your phone, and transforms it into a compulsive and addictive way to snap photos turning casual photographers into wannabe Ansel Adams’. The app doesn’t do anything that the countless other photo transformation apps in the iTunes store can’t do. This particular app though has seem to struck a chord with Tweeters and amateur photographers with its simple and intuitive interface and ease of use. It’s been described as a Twitter for photos, making creative use of the sometimes boring 140 characters of text and instead throws in a splash of photograph that is “Instagrammed” by the application’s photo filters turning an otherwise uninteresting photo into something gorgeous. There are no shortage of filters either – eleven to be exact, ranging from the electrifyingly bright Lomo-fi filter or the retro 70’s cool of the Lord Kelvin filter. With the iPhone 4 get a significant boost in horsepower this and with the addition of a Flash, Instagrammed photos come out looking quite impressive.

Instagram, which is a free download, capitalizes on the ever-growing interest in casual photography and puts a spin on it, making it as ridiculously easy as updating your Facebook status. But what’s really has struck a chord with users and resulted in the viral nature of the applications adoption amongst iPhone devotees is the fact that it has true social integration. Right off the bat you can add all of your social accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Fourquare and Tumblr, if you’re so inclined.

Instagram seamlessly integrates these accounts making it fun to snap pictures, jazz them up and share them with friends. It’s also part of what has made the app so addictive. Post a cool shot and get instant feedback from you’re friends. It’s like telling a joke – tell a funny one, you’ll probably want to tell more to get people to laugh again. The apps creators benefit from our inherent desire for validation and feedback for the things we create. As Mashable put it, its an ego-driven app. Instagram gives us a simple and quick tool to create by using built-in camera hardware and very simple software allowing our “art” to be shared.

No doubt the application will land on other platforms in the near future as the need for cross-platform applications continues to grow. Blackberry and Android users won’t want to be left out. Twitter has taken notice, too. This week the micro-blogging giant announced it will be expanding integration with third-party multimedia services, which means Tweets can now include photos embedded specifically from Instagram instead of just a text link. This is part of Twitters larger initiative to expand its services to embed everything from music to YouTube videos, effectively keeping users from have to visit other sites to view content.