Has Instagram become the Borg of social media?

“Resistance is futile”

These are the words of the Borg. An alien race whose goal is to assimilate every living organism into their collective.

In the Star Trek universe, the Borg are the ultimate evil. They exist to turn the individual into nothing more than a cog in the machine. A faceless drone.

And yet for the Borg, their intentions are inclusive and wonderfully progressive.

They assimilate new concepts and behaviours in order to improve the community. They’re open to change and constantly look to adapt to the world around them.

It would appear that Instagram (and its parent company, Facebook) subscribe to the same philosophy.

In the past 10 years, they have constantly (and some might argue, aggressively) assimilated new technologies and features.

Following the rise of Four Square in 2009, Facebook introduced Locations. As the success of Time Hop rose, Facebook built Memories. The increasing popularity of video led them to create a native solution and consequently downgrade other players.

And yesterday Instagram launched Stories. A direct response to the meteoric rise of Snapchat.

Users can now post updates to the world (or just their friends) which are live for only 24hrs. The have new graphics and drawing tools to paint over their photos. And a slideshow function to piece the content together.

In very simple terms, it’s Snapchat. On Instagram.

Instagram vs Snapchat

The feature has released to mixed responses. In many ways because it’s opened up a much deeper philosophical debate over ethics.

We have a natural affinity for the concept of an underdog. The plucky upstart taking on the establishment. From this perspective, Instagram is trying to step on the little guy. Trying to kill the competition before they become a problem.

And yet marketers constantly push brands to be antifragile. To adapt to shifts within the market. They point at Goliaths like Kodak and Blockbusters who refused to change and consequently fell.

From this perspective, why would Instagram not listen to its community? Why would it not adapt to their evolving behaviours?

Regardless of where you sit on this spectrum, one thing is clear, Instagram (and the wider Facebook portfolio) will continue to adapt, improve, ingest and ultimately assimilate new features, wherever they find them.

As a result, brands need to adapt at the same rate. You can no longer opt to ignore new platforms because it won’t be long until they are integrated into the ones you are currently using. If you don’t test and learn early, you’ll be caught out when these new behaviours suddenly become the norm everywhere.

This is the way of technology.

You cannot change it.

Resistance. Is. Futile.

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About Author

Marcos Angelides

Marcos is a Strategy and Innovation Director at OMD.

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