Instagram is a super successful photo sharing app for the iPhone. In less than a year the service has grown to more than 50 million users. And, yesterday, they announced they'll soon be launching an Android app. Look out, here comes more growth!
There are many incredible photographers on Instagram and I happen to follow quite a few of them. However, the only place for me to see their collections of photos is in the app itself. For those Instagram users who share their photos with other social networks I can view individual photos in a web browser on my laptop or desktop. Lately I've really wanted to view entire Instagram collections somewhere other than the mobile app (like on my laptop or desktop).
Instagram has wonderfully integrated social sharing and that is probably one reason why the company has experienced such phenomenal growth. Every time you post a picture you have the option of sharing via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, Foursquare, Flickr, and Email. Whenever I post an image I quite often share it via one or more of these integrated channels. Here's my take on the different sharing options:
Twitter - great if you have a good Twitter following, are clever with posts under 140 characters, and wish to share your images immediately. Downside? The image doesn't actually appear in your Twitter stream, just a link to the image.
Facebook - similar to Twitter. Again, the only downside is that the image appears as a thumbnail on your Facebook wall. Once you click on it you are redirected to an Instagram page where your higher resolution image is posted. It would be awesome if Instagram added your images to an Instagram Album on Facebook.
Foursquare - similar to Twitter and Facebook, but with the added benefit of attaching the image to a location check in. Again, your image simply becomes a part of your Foursquare history. There are no photo albums or additional viewing options.
Flickr - sharing your picture with your Flickr account is a great idea. The image becomes a part of your photostream and can be shared with the Flickr photo community. Additionally, you can add your image to an album, create slideshows, and use it elsewhere with the embed options available from Flickr.
Tumblr - in addition to Flickr, Tumblr provides a great way to share your Instagram pictures. Tumblr is a great photo sharing blog. Having your Instagram pictures populate a Tumblr page allows people to view your photos in higher resolution in a never ending blog stream. This is a great method for taking your Instagram photos and sharing them with the greater internet community (i.e. those without iPhones).
Posterous - Posterous offers another great way of sharing your photos with a blogging community.
Email - I think it was brilliant of Instagram to include this option. With email you can share pictures with people not familiar with social networking (like parents, grandparents, etc.).
There it is, my rundown of the various sharing options available from Instagram. Now, time for the big push ... If you take beautiful Instagram pictures please, please, please share them. Viewing the images outside of the mobile app is an incredible pleasure.