Twitter plans to add photo filters to compete with Instagram

SuperStorm Sandy pic by TitiYu

Instagram had a very good Superstorm Sandy. The network was swamped with images as users uploaded as many as ten pictures per second. Overall hundreds of thousands have been uploaded to Instagram in the past week documenting the storm and the damage it has done to New York and other areas of the east coast of the United States.

It has placed the photo-sharing network at the heart of the coverage of the storm, giving it some has said its “citizen journalism moment”, and highlighted Instagram’s growing success.

This growth that has taken it from 30 million to 100 million uses this year has been closely watched by rivals. None more so than Twitter which is said to be close to launching photo filters of its own to compete with the Facebook owned service.

The New York Times bits blog reports that in the coming months Twitter will update its mobile applications to introduce filters for photos bringing sepia tones, retro looks, black white and washed out looking photos to a wider market.

SuperStorm Sandy Instagram pic by @Tmmlnyc

These will allow people to share filtered images on Twitter without the need to visit Instagram according the paper, which quoted “people who work at the company but asked not to be named”.

It is a move that makes perfect sense as once many have finished working on their images on Instagram they take to Facebook and Twitter to share them with the wider world.

If users can play with filters on Twitter, and enjoy a seamless experience, rather than going elsewhere many obviously will.

As Superstorm Sandy raged that affect has been massively amplified with Instagram images appearing on many news networks and websites. This also included people posting fake images.

“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. 

“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. 

“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,” according to the New York Times. 

It has been reported previously that Twitter has looked around for a rival to Instagram to give it more capability when it comes to pictures, but could not find anything in the market where price and product matched.

Instead it has gone down the path that Facebook has trodden itself and built is own service.

More on Superstorm Sandy and social media

The good, the bad and the ugly of social media during Superstorm Sandy

 Instagram images

1. Waiting for Frankenstorm by Titi Yu.

2. Please be kind to us, #sandy I hope everyone is safe and sound by  @mmlnyc.