The "Twitter-Instagram photo war," as Poynter has called it, is painting a new picture of how social networks are treating users--and how journalists should be using them. Instagram is no longer allowing Twitter to make its images viewable within tweets. Users can still post their pictures from Instagram in Twitter, but only a link to the image will show up.
In today's Poynter article on the topic, Jeff Sonderman writes, "No matter which company wins, users will lose."
What he means by that is the user experience is no longer the first priority for companies like Facebook (which owns Instagram) and Twitter. They are now moving to "capturing value," meaning they want to lock users into their own platforms and reduce integration.
As journalists, we use social media to accomplish our goals: to interact with readers and bring more people to our sites. But we also have to remember that Facebook and Twitter have their own goals as well--and they might not always coincide with ours.
Mathew Ingram, in another article on the topic, said media companies should think hard about their relationship with Twitter. "It is not just a conduit for your content to reach your users whenever and wherever you wish...it is a proprietary network built by a company with monetization and expansion on its mind, and your content is part of that equation."
But it might not always be. And it is also hard to tell which social media site is going to be at the forefront of readers' minds. It is important for us to follow these changes.