If you thought you felt a great disturbance in the social media force yesterday, you weren't wrong: Instagram made the surprising-to-some decision to cut support for allowing Twitter to display inline images from the photo-sharing app. Currently, this means that those ubiquitous self-portraits, "hilarious" pet photos, and pictures of your feet are shown in a janky, broken format -- but going forward, Instagram says they're going to remove all support for the inline feature.
Meaning, you're going to have to make that extra click to see your Twitter friends' heavily-filtered photostreams. The question is, will you? Or are you secretly kind of glad you don't necessarily have to see yet another picture of a sepia-tinted cloud/baby/alcoholic beverage?
Personally, I don't think I'll really miss the inline feature. For one thing, I'm already using Instagram to follow everyone whose photos I'm interested in. For another, lots of people tend to forget the character limit when they automatically post to Twitter from Instagram, so maybe this will encourage folks to think twice before tweeting half-finished sentences about the super-amazing surprisingly-unphotogenic lunch they just enjoyed.
For those who really liked the feature, though, it's kind of a bummer -- and it's hard not to wonder if this decision has anything to do with Instagram's recent acquisition by Facebook. Instagram's founder denies it, but come on. If you were partnered with a site with over a billion users, you probably wouldn't be overly worried about ticking off the Twitter addicts, would you?
As for the party line about Instagram's change, the company says it's because they recently launched that new web profile:
We are currently working on building the best experience for Instagram users. A handful of months ago, we supported Twitter cards because we had a minimal web presence. We've since launched several improvements to our website that allow users to directly engage with Instagram content through likes, comments, hashtags and now we believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives.
It certainly makes you wonder what the long term plans are for that web profile. Is monetization in Instagram's future?
You could also view this change as "an act of war," as Mashable puts it. Twitter is reportedly coming out with its own photo filters, so it stands to reason Instagram is thinking ahead to how to retain users.
Either way, I doubt this decision will slow down the furious photo-sharing pace of those of us who are diehard Instagram addicts. I fully admit I fall into nearly every category so wonderfully mocked by that now-famous College Humor video, and I guess I don't think it's a bad thing that if I do choose to share something via Twitter, people will have to decide whether or not to click. After all, probably not everyone finds my cat as charming as I do ... as difficult as that is to believe.
LOL CAT IN A BOX YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE
What do you think of the Instagram/Twitter change? Does it affect you at all?
Images via Linda Sharps