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Celebrating 10 Years of Instagram

Monday 12 October 2020

5 minute read

By Sarah Burns

If you’re old enough to remember when Instagram first burst onto the scene, but not too old to not care about the ‘gram, you’ll be shocked to hear Instagram has just celebrated its 10th birthday.

Back in 2010, it was hard to believe an app, with the sole purpose of scrolling through a stream of photos, would become so commonplace, but it has done just that, long before its milestone birthday this month.

Today, we use Instagram as a way to communicate, share our daily lives, and it’s the app of choice for the Gen Z market, as opposed to Facebook, which is, generally speaking, preferred by those aged 30+.

Instagram has come a long way since its introduction, largely thanks to the development of our smartphones and the uptick in our consumption of marketing and media on our phones, as well as Facebook’s purchase of its one-time rival in 2012. 

As Ruchira Samira, of iNews, puts it: 

“Instagram’s influence has grown measurably in past years too after Facebook bought the app in 2012 and made a series of well-calculated decisions and outright copycat moves. Instagram Stories, a rival to Snapchat; Messenger; IGTV; and now Reels, hot on the heels of TikTok, have ensured that theoretically if you only downloaded one social media app, it could be Instagram. It does the job of WhatsApp, Twitter and YouTube.”

A lot of Instagram’s modern success falls largely with the way we adapted our use of social media, following Facebook’s purchase of the image-sharing app. Influencer marketing, once an unheard-of tactic, is now a media phenomenon, largely due to our obsession with how we portray ourselves online, and how Gen Z and Millennials will spend tens, or hundreds, of hours carefully constructing their ‘Instagram aesthetic’. 

In recent years, the introduction of Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels have further contributed to our obsession with the Instagram grid - and all of its extra outlets and tributaries - so much so that it’s no wonder it now has over a billion monthly users and is no longer the ‘photo-nerd hipsters in San Francisco’ its founders, Kevin Systrom and Mile Kreiger, originally envisioned.

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