Congratulations, Instagram. You know you’ve arrived when you can ignite new bitterness between Android and iOS users.
Android users have had Instagram access for less than a week, and something very strange has happened as a result. I’m not talking about the one million users added within the first 12 hours – that makes complete sense. I’m talking about the iOS outrage that’s followed the launch.
Shortly after it became known that Android users could download and beginning posting to Instagram, iPhone users made their disappointment known. There have been complaints about the feed being flooded with low quality Android-taken photos, and accusations that the sub-par phones would crash the app for everyone (which, from a technical perspective, makes very little sense. Instagram has been prepping for this release the better part of a year).
Clearly, these criticisms aren’t so much steeped in concern as they are in elitism. Instagram was an iOS-only club, a club that everyone wanted into and where only the iPhone-carrying were allowed. Instagram was a trump card, where when you found yourself defending your phone choice to an Android users you could throw “well you don’t have Instagram!” back in his or her face. It was an example of how good developers sided with Apple, and how they didn’t need Android. And now that this has been taken away, iPhone-Instagram addicts have gone on the offense.
The general consensus of the attacks center around the idea that Android users have a) no artistic ability and b) bad imaging technology, and that this results in c) a sullying of the Instagram feed and app itself. Here’s just a glimpse at the Android-Instagram hate:
There are many, many worse quotes you can find here, if you’re so inclined.
The Android vs. iPhone sentiment has always been pretty palpable, but one, incredibly simple app has spurred it into something that reeks of classicism. It’s ridiculous in so many ways that it’s hard to make sense of it all. So for starters, iOS users, get down off your high horses and give it up. Everyone, whether they carry an iPhone, Android, or hopefully someday soon a Windows Phone, should be able to take really, really average pictures of pets, food, graffiti, or any other hipster-looking thing they lay eyes on, throw a silly filter on it, call it art, and shoot it over to the Instagram feed. An inflated sense of self-worth and artistic ability should be something we can all enjoy — and this is coming from an iPhone owner and active Instagram user.
Secondly, what this has all done is inflate Instagram. The antagonism feels similar to when Facebook started letting everyone in, not just college kids. People only get so vicious when they want to protect and keep something for themselves, and while it’s clearly unfounded, terrible, and in this case stupid, it means that Instagram accrued an intensely loyal following for itself who reveled in the exclusivity and are now having trouble sharing. It’s a nice problem to have for a 2-year-old startup.