Opinion: Not so fast: Why Instagram will not be the next big social media platform

by Oluwatobi Soyombo

To think that Instagram is not even accessible via web (which a handful of Nigerians have access to) – with all its limitations – is to predict it’s failure more in Nigeria.

A respected man in the social technology scope published an article two days ago. In the piece, he gave several reasons why Intagram, the photo sharing app acquired by Facebook in April is set to take leadership of social avenues, supporting his assertions with interesting facts and figures from a recent survey in America. Well, I can only disagree when narrowed down to Nigeria. I’m glad none of the figures have nothing to do with Nigeria and even Africa at large. Here’s my reason why Instagram is unlikely to be the next BIG social media platform in Nigeria.

Cross-platform issues! Unlike Facebook, Twitter and other social media avenues, Instagram is currently platform biased, providing acces to iOS and Android powered gadgets only. I won’t need to quote figures for you to agree that most Nigerians are not on both platforms. In my opinion, any social media platform that wants to see mass adoption in Nigeria must lower the entry point based on what the critical mass can easily adopt.

I want to believe that one of the reasons why Facebook saw mass adoption (to an extent) in Nigeria is due to the fact that virtually everyone with an internet enabled phone have access to the platform – unlike Instagram. More Nigerians are getting on Twitter today for that one reason too. Low-end “dumb” phones have Twitter applications that provide access to the micro-blogging platform. So, how can Instagram become the next big thing when access is limited? As of late, there are about 12.5 million Nigerians on 2Go (beating even Facebook hands down). Why? It’s cross platform, every Joe and Jane on the street has access to it.

To think that Instagram is not even accessible via web (which a handful of Nigerians have access to) – with all its limitations – is to predict it’s failure more in Nigeria. The way out will be for Instagram to develop apps for other mobile operating systems. If done, Instagram may ride on to become the next big social platform. Instagram as it is, is a potential success in Nigeria as most Nigerians like to share pictures, but it’s this one limitation pose a strong barrier to its success on this part of the world.

The other side of the coin is if smartphones (with a strong emphasy on Android and iOS gadgets) and data plans become cheaper. In a country where too many people consider smartphones as luxury, I can’t predict an easy success for any social media service that limits access to smartphones. For instance, it’s one thing to get an android phone, it’s another thing to get data on it considering its data guzzling nature. Well, among the upper-income guys that can afford both the smartphone and data plan, Instagram may win.

Emm, do I have anything against Instagram. Of course not! But there are just obvious issues here mehnThe platform that must be the next big social media platform, at least in Nigeria must be one that enables easy access to the average Joe. Period!


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