I was an instagram fan. I had been using it for some time, longer than most people I knew. It was a clever app. It did not improve your smartphone pictures technically, it actually degraded them technically, but it enhanced the ability of the user to communicate a sentiment visually, whether that sentiment was affection, excitement, or nostalgia. The user applied a "filter," which is actually re-touching the image electronically, to communicate something along with the image itself.
Since people typically use their smartphone to capture sentimental moments, this clever little app was quite a hit. I liked it, I recommended it to my friends and family (rare enough by itself). I used it to control my iPhone's camera more than half the time I used the camera. I had mechanisms set up to save my instagram photos redundantly, I even used it to stay in touch with my mother.
However, I don't know of anything that is worth a billion dollars. I don't ever really know what a billion dollars really is like, it is a very abstract concept for me. That doesn't mean I disapprove of the price tag, I just can't really conceive of it. The creators of this app deserved ample reward. They did a great job with it. For a long time my only complaint was that the app was exclusive to the iPhone. I wanted my Android friends to have it as well.
Not long ago, they announced and released the Android version. Cool. We have a real community now. I told all my Android-based friends, and I began to search for, and found, various celebrities personal photo feeds, which was a fun way to stay in touch with them. I was really starting to adopt it as a regular technological part of my routine.
Then, the sale of the company to Facebook was announced. I deleted the app immediately and my instagram account very soon thereafter.
The same thing bothers me about Facebook that bothers me about Microsoft: taking advantage of user naivete and ignorance is a central pillar of their business model.
Wow. One day instagram is a major presence in my life, the next day it is instagone. What a world.