After paying $1 billion to acquire Instagram about six weeks ago, Facebook recently launched its own Instagram clone, Facebook Camera, and like many people I wanted to check it out right away.
“Great, it’ll be like Instagram, but only with photos from people I actually care about,” I thought. Facebook is one of the most popular photo sharing sites on the Web. During the first three months of 2012, an average of 300 million images were uploaded to the social network every day. Facebook is all about photos. This was going to be great.
[Related: Hands on with Facebook Camera for iPhone]
So I grabbed Facebook Camera off the App Store, fired it up, and signed in. Then I saw a bunch of photos like this:
Basically, I saw the kinds of photos you always see on Facebook. And that’s when it hit me: Facebook Camera sucks. But it’s not the fault of Facebook or the app itself, it’s because my Facebook friends generally share crappy photos. And I’ll bet yours do too.
But that makes sense doesn’t it? Facebook is all about sharing small moments of your life with friends you actually know. Because of that, Facebook photos tend to be snapshots in the truest sense of the word. They are souvenirs from that awesome night in a dimly lit pub that you want to share with the rest of your college buddies. Or your newborn baby’s first time in a bathtub or the end celebration of a yearlong project. And let’s not forget those friends who like to share funny posters featuring animals, Chuck Norris, or ridiculous quotes attributed to Justin Bieber.
When you see those photos on your PC or in the context of Facebook’s mobile apps, the aesthetic crappiness of these images gets lost amid the noise of status updates, game invitations, pokes, and comments. But take all that stuff out and leave just your friends’ Facebook photos? Yick.
Contrast that with Instagram where people don’t necessarily share moments with friends, but publicly broadcast amazing shots of exotic food or a great view from the Golden Gate Bridge. Sure, you can find a lot of random snapshots in Instagram like this one:
But overall Instagram users are looking to share the beauty they see around them, while Facebook users are sharing moments that don’t necessarily translate into great photos.
Maybe Facebook Camera will change that. Similar to Instagram, Facebook Camera lets you add filters to give your photos that 70’s era Polaroid feel. And since Facebook Camera is all about photos, it may encourage people to be a little wiser about the images they post online. So as people begin to use Facebook’s new app, perhaps they will be encouraged to share photos that are more aesthetically pleasing.
Until then, expect less of this:
And more of this:
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