Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom feels his company’s popularity could propel it past Facebook; Papa Zuckerberg bought the photo-sharing app last year. The service has seen tremendous growth over the past several months, announcing an incredible 130 million active users just this past month. That’s nowhere near Facebook’s billion strong userbase, though Instagram itself was only just launched in 2010. Give it time.
“By definition, if it keeps growing at this rate, yes, [Instagram] will be bigger,” Systrom told Fast Company. “It will be the biggest thing in the world.”
As one of the bigger fans of the photo-sharing service, even I am a little incredulous of Systrom’s claims. However, there is much more to it than just filters—video was recently added in response to Vine; it’s about sharing. The service has spawned a number of incredible communities and, for the most part (from what I’ve seen), it’s one of the more positive social networks out there. To say there isn’t potential to reach Facebook-like levels wouldn’t be giving Instagram enough credit.
Systrom quite clearly believes his social network is strong enough. Under the tutelage of Facebook, it certainly has the resources to become much larger than it is now; like Twitter, Instagram has evolved into a unique source for not only fleeting images, but actual news. Instagram photos are often used in breaking reports, magazines and more. Not only that, but it gives the world a behind the scenes look at the lives of famous actors, athletes and musicians (assuming they’re active on the service). There’s value much deeper than the initial surface of Mayfair, Amaro, etc.
You can’t be successful at anything without having ambition. Targeting Facebook just shows Systrom has a belief in his service to become something much bigger than it is now. The recent addition of video could be the start. As long as users are active on the platform, old and new, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it reach numbers only experienced by Zuckerberg’s own playground. We’ll see how it evolves over the coming years.