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If Twitter Is The News King, Is Instagram Really A Threat?
Twitter co-founder doesn't "give a s**t" about Instagram's higher user numbers, while Instagram promises to improve search for breaking news images.
Could Instagram someday unseat Twitter as the primary social news service? Based on announcements and conversations this week, Instagram thinks so … but a Twitter board member clearly doesn’t.
That news prompted some spicy remarks from Twitter co-founder, and current Twitter board member, Evan Williams, who told Fortune that user counts don’t matter and Twitter is about content depth, not breadth. [Ed. note: Pardon the four-letter word.]
If you think about the impact Twitter has on the world versus Instagram, it’s pretty significant. It’s at least apples to oranges. Twitter is what we wanted it to be. It’s this realtime information network where everything in the world that happens on Twitter—important stuff breaks on Twitter and world leaders have conversations on Twitter. If that’s happening, I frankly don’t give a shit if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pictures.
While Williams is dismissing Instagram as a serious threat to Twitter’s position as the social network of record where current news is concerned, Instagram is promising that it plans to go after Twitter in this space.
When Wired.com asked co-founder Mike Krieger if he considers Instagram to be a social news service, he answered with an enthusiastic “Of course!,” and promised that the service will be aiming to improve in this area in 2015, particularly for users who are looking for images related to breaking news.
Krieger assures me that search will improve in 2015. “We’ll keep developing the real-time current events angle,” he says. The company has built up a data team over the past year. A couple of weeks ago, Instagram started suggesting people that a user might want to follow. It’s a start, and it will certainly make Instagram even more alluring to the people who now turn to Twitter for news.
No one argues that breaking news content can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks/apps. Facebook is trying to figure out its role as a news service, and it’ll be interesting to watch Instagram push in this direction, too. But the bet from where I sit is that Twitter is too far out ahead of the pack in this area to be taken down, even by competitors that count bigger active user bases.