I saw a comment on a @getolympus post today. The person was making a point about Olympus using Instagram to post photos relating to their users.
There are a huge number of iOS and Android users who have nothing else but mobile phones and some are quite good at capturing the moment. Some even capture good photos that could be categorised as art. I can envision the sneers at this time. Great photographers can work with any equipment and produce good photos. There are those who are too timid of stepping out on their own who must stay with a dSLR or rangefinder camera to produce their photos. I count the majority of Canikon users among them. After all, that's how they came to follow the followers. However, I can imagine Ansel Adams picking up an iPhone and taking the time to make good photos.
It's not difficult to believe. Digital technology has come a very long way since I first picked up a digital camera in 1997. When I first decided to join the movement away from film in 2004, it still wasn't very good and the Canon 20D and Nikon D200 were not very good. Now, they're really not good. You say that I wouldn't want to make a poster with a photo from an iPhone 4S or Galaxy SIII? You're right, but additionally, I wouldn't want to make a poster from 20D or D200 shots either.
The world doesn't care about huge shots and high resolution. The world is more interested in sharing and that's where Instagram has made its mark. Since it's been acquired by Facebook, who knows how its nature will change.
I've taken a number of my old shots and uploaded them to my phone and then, to Instagram. They still look good but in such a smaller size. At that size, you still notice a clarity from the lenses that my iPhone 4S just can't give. I thought about adding the Schneider 2 lens and case kit, but at almost $200, that's a bit too dear, and could go toward dSLR equipment or a mirror-less system camera purchase.
The social implications of Instagram are as massive as they are with Twitter. On the Popular page, you can see like-driven photos within a grid. Perhaps unfortunately, One Direction and Justin Bieber seem to be getting most of the attention, just like on Twitter. Providing something silly that people like can vault that image to the top and get you fans, even if it's not your image.
Yes, even if it's not your image--people tend to use images of others to catapult themselves upward. Of course, you can report violations, but are they heard? Does any social media service pay attention to violations? I haven't seem much reaction.
While Instagram is important to a few, it could be gone in a few years, but it certainly signals a maturing of sharing media.