Instagrammers: 1, Instagram: 0

Jeffrey Young | @jeffrey_young09 If you are an Instagram user, you’ve likely become enamored with food photography, and your feed probably looks a little something like this...

Pizza photo with Instagram Filter

 

Mashable has a great visual timeline of Instagram if you’d like a brief overview of its evolution.  But Instagram is continuing to evolve.  The infamous Instagram announcement to transition ownership of your photos from you (for advertising purposes) prompted a PR nightmare a month ago.  National Geographic, @NatGeo, took a stand against the measure by suspending all new posts.  Since the uproar, Instagram has changed course.

The company sent out a mass email shortly after letting users know their privacy policy was changing, effective January 16th.

WHAT’S NOT CHANGING You will still own the photos you upload.  This shows users still have a voice and can help promote or resist change if everyone has one collective voice.  Instagram definitely heard that voice, and we think they’ll tread lightly going forward.  They do admit that if the company’s sold, your content and information may be sold as well.  However, seeing as how Instagram for a hefty billion, we don’t foresee Facebook letting go anytime soon.

NOTEWORTHY Instagram will be able to collect enough information about your surfing habits to identify the device you’re accessing the service from.  This gives them the opportunity to create personalized ads, which are fairly standard across the web.  Facebook is still perfecting the art of monetization and its taken a while for them to be incorporated in the news feed.  If ads were incorporated into Instagram, they’d be anything but invasive.  Instagrammers love their freedom, and they’re not giving it up anytime soon.

BUSINESS IMPACT We're past the drama; there's not much to worry about.  We recommend using discretion in what you post just in case Instagram's policies do change in favor of the advertisers.  Don't post photos you plan to sell.  Think of Instagram as a way to gain more clients and give a snapshot into your company's culture, not as a way to show off all your work.  Still, Instagram is a great way to visually share what your company is about, but please use discretion.

FACEBOOK TIES Instagram currently allows you to add friends through Facebook and invite friends through your contact list.  It also gives you a list of suggested users to add and lets you share to Facebook, Twitter, Email, Tumblr, Flickr, and foursquare.  We applaud the users for taking a stand and we’re curious to see how far these partnerships go and whether the Instagram community will stay united in preserving the private social network.

 

For more information, check out these other great articles on this topic: The Official Instagram BlogThe Full @NatGeo story,  & Mashable's Visual Timeline