Twitter May Add Photo Filters To Its Mobile App
November 4, 2012

Twitter To Add Instragram-Style Photo Filters To Mobile Apps

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

In what is being called a move to combat popular photo-sharing website Instagram, Twitter is reportedly planning to release a mobile app update that will allow members of the microblogging website to modify pictures using a series of filters.

As Nick Bilton of the New York Times first reported on Friday, unidentified Twitter employees said the new features would allow people to tweak images and upload them directly to the microblogging website, bypassing the now-Facebook owned Instagram completely.

"Although adding photo filters to Twitter may seem like a trivial addition to a social network that processes nearly a billion 140-character missives every two days, it could prove to be an important part of the company´s business," Bilton said. "As most smartphones are now equipped with high-resolution cameras, photography and mobile devices go together like peas and carrots. Flickr, which was once the go-to photo sharing site on the Web, has since seen an exodus of people who have opted for Facebook or Instagram."

"Twitter has proved to be very popular among advertisers who want to reach people on smartphones, where the company´s audience tends to flock," he added. "According to one Twitter employee, the company´s V.I.T.´s, or Very Important Tweeters, as they are known internally, usually celebrities and media personalities, would be especially happy to see filters in the Twitter mobile apps. Most V.I.T.´s now use Instagram to take photos, and then share them on Twitter, where they often have a larger following."

On paper, the decision to try to eliminate Instagram, now owned by one of Twitter's primary social media competitors, seems to make the decision to add photo filters to their mobile software a sound one. However, some tech experts believe that such filters alone will not be enough to counteract the photo-sharing network.

TechCrunch reporter Drew Olanoff says the addition of image filters "does not cancel out Instagram whatsoever," mainly because of the website's "fantastic community" of users, many of whom are not Twitter or Facebook members.

Olanoff said increasing the number of photo-related options available to Twitter users "makes complete sense" and will "keep people on the service longer," but wouldn't convince "hardcore Instagram users" to stop using the service and switch over exclusively to Twitter.

VentureBeat writer Jennifer Van Grove concurs, saying Instagram managed to find "mainstream appeal" in part because of its "immediate nature and its dumbing-down of the bloated social network experience." That simplified experience has made Instagram especially attractive to adolescent and teenage smartphone and tablet owners, she said.

"A soccer parent recently recounted a story to me about how he spent a one-hour-plus carpool observing his 14-year-old son and a few teammates feverishly checking Instagram and talking about their friends´ images. The same dad´s 12-year-old son didn´t want a new phone unless the phone had an Instagram application," Van Grove added. "Filters aren´t going to bring these kids to Twitter."

Twitter is also reportedly considering other additions to its mobile apps, Bilton said. One anonymous source within the company told the New York Times that those features include the ability to upload and perhaps edit videos directly through the social network, rather than having to use a third-party service such as YouTube.