3 Instagram Alternatives: Beyond Facebook’s Instabillion Buy

9 Apr
Disturbance In The Force

Join me and together we will rule the galaxy!

Did anyone else sense a disturbance in The Force recently?

You may have heard the news: Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 BillionMoves Operations to Secret Volcano LairIgnites Hipster Outrage.

I’m not afraid to say I love Instagram, and I anticipate continuing to enjoy it as a casual consumer for some time to come. It’s opened up a world of mobile photography and photo editing via smartphone that I never would have considered before. It’s been just enough of a social network to add engagement and hold my attention, while also making it easy and rewarding to discover some great images and have fun interacting with fun people.

I personally am encouraged by this news, since there’s only so much Instagram’s 13-person operation is capable of, and since their monthly hosting bill alone must equal the GDP of a small country. I think having the vast resources of Facebook will ease more growing pains than it will create, and I don’t plan to change how I use either service, for now anyway.

Instagram’s New HQ (rumored)

That said, this opens up all kinds of questions about whether your Instagram content is now Facebook’s content, if Instagram will now have ads, or if the whole Instagram experience goes down the tubes.


I’m not so concerned, because, simply, Instagram is not the only show in town. It’s service is one of the most streamlined, accessible, and, ironically, the most connected with other networks. I think that’s ironic because it’s these other networks that offer so much of what Instagram already does: easy photo sharing, mobile apps, and interaction with like-minded folks. They also come with web interfaces – something you only get for Instagram through 3rd-party sites like Gramfeed or Statigr.am.

These other networks might not have filters at the ready, but most of my photos don’t even use Instagram filters, since there are so many apps far more capable of turning everyday snapshots into appreciable art. And once you’ve become handy with some photo editing apps that suit your taste, here are three other photo-sharing networks to consider:

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!


While more general-purpose and slightly more complicated to use than other networks, Flickr is a fantastic value (2 videos and 300MB worth of photos each calendar month for free accounts) and has a very robust web interface for organizing your images. You can use collections, sets, adjust privacy levels for each, and plenty more. Just like Instagram, there’s commenting, favorites (likes), followers (contacts), groups, but then there’s still more beyond that. And they have a wacky sense of humor (big points from me for that). The Flickr mobile app is also a great way to browse images and see those of your contacts.

Hopefully, this could be the business model Facebook anticipates, where the service is practically independent from its parent: much-beloved Flickr is thriving, unlike much-cursed Yahoo. It might take a little more searching to find arty pics here, but it’s worth a look if that’s your thing. If mobile art specifically is your thing, you might like…


Designed by artists for artists, iPhoneArt.com has an inherent elegance to the interface, both on the site and the mobile app. Full disclosure: I’ve been featured as artist of the day there, but as I’ve noted earlier, it tends to make Instagram look like MySpace, since one major distinguishing feature is that you can only upload five photos per day. So they’d better be good. You won’t find the deluge of mediocre snapshots all over the place highlighted for their so-called popularity, but you will find a talented community of creative folk who are into pushing the limits of what can be done with mobile photography as art. If art beyond the mobile platform is what you’re after, you might like…


No, liking it doesn’t make you a deviant (let’s hope), but DeviantArt does offer an enthusiastic community and tons of content, all sortable and searchable depending on what your interest may be. DeviantArt is truly a social network for creatives, with a slant toward the artistic. There’s not a specific app, but that’s a non-issue, since their ultra-slick mobile-friendly version of the site gives you the same experience and functionality as the full-site version.

I’m already on Instagram; Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Good point. You don’t have to abandon ship. And I, especially, am not eager to learn a new photo-sharing interface just because of an acquisition – heck, I just recently figured out Pinterest. But one thing to consider is that unlike many other photo sharing apps or networks, these particular examples are very well-established – either in terms of how long they’ve been around, the depth of experience they offer, dedicated user base… or any combination of these and other factors that are of proven appeal to many Instagramers.

So if you think the party is over for our beloved Instagram, have a look at these other, less-likely-to-be-purchased-by-Facebook networks serving up their own style of social art.

What do you think of Facebook’s Instapurchase? Are you already on one or more of these networks? What has your experience there been like vs. Instagram? Is there another network (not app, but network) you would recommend? Let us hear from you in the comments!

10 Responses to “3 Instagram Alternatives: Beyond Facebook’s Instabillion Buy”

  1. Eric April 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    I was thinking the same thing on the coding and funding side. I only hope the instgram app doesn’t just become a button on Facebook. That would devalue a billion dollar investment into a hotlink and probably result in a mass exodus. I personally just dl’d the ipa app. Cheers for the heads up on that.

    • rsmithing April 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

      Excellent point. I doubt FB will just do an assimilation… at least I hope so. Glad you’re checking out the IPA app; I’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of stuff over there. The site is really where it’s at, but the app is a great companion. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Erika April 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    You described my feelings almost exactly… Fairly indifferent. I have no hate for Facebook. I actually enjoy staying connected with family and friends there. Here on IG I connect more with complete strangers… which is strangely satisfying also. I guess my only worries are that we will be inundated with ads and that people that have a particular dislike of FB will leave IG. I am hopeful that the purchase will lead to some improved organizational control of my IG photos.

    • rsmithing April 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

      What a great point about the way we connect. And you’re right on about some long-needed organization. Something like Twitter’s lists would be great. Heck, half the time the crop function doesn’t even work… would be nice to see some basic debugging. Thanks for weighing in!

  3. Appdaptation April 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    Thanks for taking a more level headed look at this than I did this morning. 🙂 Great article as always my friend!

    • rsmithing April 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      Oh, but you hit the nail on the head perfectly when you say Golliath ate David! Thanks for weighing in, Chris – this is going to be interesting, no doubt.


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