Once of the hallmarks of our generation has come to be that about once every couple of months Facebook does something, and the entire Internet revolts. Sometimes the Internet has a good reason to revolt - especially in the cases in which Facebook has made changes that affected its users privacy or security without adequately informing them first. Facebook seems to have learned its lesson in this regard, however, as evidenced by the fact that it took several weeks to roll out the new "timeline" format for profiles and pages. This, of course, didn't stop the Internet from revolting.
This revolting every time Facebook makes a move has become a tradition - or a bad habit, depending on your perspective - as evidenced by this week's acquisition of Instagram by Facebook. Remember Instagram? Just last Friday we were exploring this site, which allows users to create artwork out of their mobile photos before uploading them to their favorite social networks.
While the real news of this acquisition is that it was reported for One Billion Dollars (with a "B"), which is HUGE for a start-up application that just finally rolled out to (Google's) Android devices last week. Previously, it had only been available on (Apple's) iPhones.
Why was Facebook willing to pay so much? My guess is that Facebook wanted to get it before Google scooped it up. Critics are concerned that Facebook primarily wanted the user data from Instagram. This seems unlikely, however, because although Instagram had its own social network, its primary purpose to be used as a tool to filter photos prior to uploading to Facebook and Twitter. Ergo, most of the users probably already had Facebook, and were already sharing their photos on Facebook or another social network. And, of course the Twitterverse is going nuts - as per usual. Even the reaction among Facebook users is mixed, and hysterical.
OK, here's the deal. Facebook is a for-profit company, and so is (was) Instagram. So are all of their competitors. They are going to make business decisions that they hope will make them as much money as possible, and keep them in business as long as possible. This is how business works, and that's what this acquisition was - a business decision. I think it was probably a good one all of the way around, and I'm very happy for the folks at Instagram who has the business acumen to develop a great program that turned out to be worth $1B.
Now, let's all calm down, and save our energy for the habitual outrage that is sure to ensue as soon as one of these media giants buys the other photo-related time-sink, Pinterest.