Yes, you read that headline right. The situation really seem to be heading in that direction in many respects. Three months ago, Instagram’s official blog announced that it had reached 150 million users, of which more than 50% use the service every day. That’s still a long way from the more than 700 million that go on Facebook daily, but Instagram, with its latest move, aims to direct the photo-sharing social network toward a broader sphere of communication: With Instagram Direct, users will now be able to send photos and messages privately.
Now, on the main menu, you’ll see a new button in the shape of an inbox on the upper toolbar from which you can manage all your private conversations. You can create a normal Instagram post with an associated photo, but instead of publishing it for all your followers you can select up to 15 individual recipients.
These private posts are exactly like public ones, but thanks to the privacy setting you can use them to have private conversations with other people just like in a chat conversation or a forum thread. The possibilities are enormous, and open the door to Instagram being used in ways similar to other networks such as the aforementioned Facebook or even instant messaging services.
The title of this post also reflects the recent trend, above all in the North American market, to use Instagram to create events and talk about concrete subjects. It seems that this migration marks some sort of “flight from mom.” Now that Facebook has become such a massively used service, many young people are taking refuge in the photo-sharing social network in search of a place safe from their parents and other relatives. In the end, even thought digital exhibitionism is very in vogue, we all always end up seeking out our own little private corner where we can feel special. This is the niche that Instagram is aiming to capitalize upon.