Instagram vs Twitter: time for users to pick sides

As Instagram disables its photos from appearing in Twitter, Cake's digital planner Steve Cater looks at the battle between the two darlings of the tech world - and sees no possible resolution in sight.

At war: Instagram and Twitter

Whilst Google approaches the web as one that should be as open as possible, its younger competitors have sparked what looks like all out war. Their humbled stance in public commentary far from reflects the actions that we’ve seen in the last couple of months from both Instagram and Twitter.

Limiting access, weakening integration and replicating features are symptoms that highlight there is a real conflict. It’s a competitive space to be in. Both networks offer the user to follow what interests them and both do it successfully with short-form content. Both have strong mobile consumption. So what’s the user to do…?

For now the user will deal with it. But, if the networks continue to drift apart the user will be forced to focus their attention to one.

Whilst Twitter has the numbers. Instagram has Facebook.

Let’s not forget that Twitter once tried to buy Instagram according to some reports. That’s a clear signal that there is a conflict in service. By offering the addition of an image editing (filters) function to users they hope that many will jump ship.

Instagram is not going to accept defeat gracefully, particularly as Facebook is focused on its photo product which it has clearly recognised as being one its key features for users, broadening its offering with better integration with Instagram and Pinterest. Disabling all support for Twittercards is a clear attack.

It’s head to head right now and hard to determine who the victor will be at this stage. It looks very unlikely that there will be a compromise. It’s clear that it’s not going to be a quick knockout. Both networks have a substantial number of users and those users aren’t afraid to throw their weight around.

No doubt the next few months will shed some light on what impact this will have for users of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It will also have an impact on brands. Brands are using social platforms to grow their following and engage with consumers – they should ensure that they’re fully informed of the latest developments and how it might impact their content plans and bigger social strategy for the future.

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