Early last week rumors cropped up about a new private messaging feature that Instagram was working on. Heading into the weekend Techcrunch uncovered a list of instagram.com email addresses that were delivered to an unnamed e-commerce company that purchased an aggregated list. As you may remember, in 2010 when Facebook relaunched their message system, it included the ability to use a facebook.com email address to respond directly to messages.
So what does a hypothetical messaging system mean for the network? It’s hard to say without details, but it addresses a fundamental flaw that currently exists with Instagram, the ability to effectively communicate. Right now communicating within the app is very difficult, especially for popular users and brands. The only way to notify a user is by using their Instagram handle or tagging in a photo. There are currently a handful of Instagram messaging clients that have cropped up to circumvent this. Apps like instaChat and instaMessage help facilitate communication between users but may be rendered useless if a true messaging system is in the works.
The question becomes — Do the multiple rumors and discovery of email addresses mean a messaging system is inevitable? Of course not, but as Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch points out Mark Zuckerberg did once claim ““This is not an email killer. This is a messaging experience that includes email as one part of it … This is the way that the future should work.”
Opening the platform up to better communication may allow more activity to occur within the app instead of on other networks like Twitter or the one off Instagram communication apps. However, some of the beauty of Instagram is the simplicity. It’s become popular because it is simply a network of images with a snippet of text, it was something different.
If better messaging and communication does arrive on Instagram, it will only be beneficial for marketers who will be able to better engage, track and interact with users … as long as it doesn’t turn too many people off of the service all-together. For more see the full article from TechCrunch.