The retro-filter photo sharing app, Instagram has been in the news a lot this week as the Facebook v. Twitter war hots up. Facebook bought Instagram in April this year for a cool $1 billion. Since then, a fair few Instagram users have been nervous about the future of their beloved app, believing there to be a possibility of it being swallowed up and integrated fully into the Facebook infrastructure.
Some of these fears were put to rest after Mark Zuckerberg spoke of the reasons for acquiring Instagram at the TechCrunch conference. For more information on this, see this post from the Social Safe blog.
There have been some really good new features added to Instragram since its aquisition. We’ve now got web profiles, an Android app (much to the annoyance of some iPhone users), more filters, and quicker and more feature filled mobile apps.
However, last week Instagram did something to frustrate a lot of users- it effectively shut down its Twitter integration. For those of you not familiar, each time you take a photo in Instagram, you have the option of sharing the photo to your Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or Tumblr account as well as check in the location in Foursquare. Although the option to share to Twitter still exists, Twitter no longer shows the photo in the stream- it forces people to click on a link to view the photo on Instagram itself. It is obvious, Instagram (now being owned by Facebook) is trying to increase their website’s page views. This is odd for a company that made it’s mark as a mobile app.
You would think the problem lies with Twitter for not displaying the images. However, in a recent blog update, Twitter confirmed that Instagram removed the photo integration on their side. It is all to do with “Twitter Cards”. Twitter Cards are meta information on a web page to tell Twitter to display extra content such as images, descriptions and videos. Instagram has removed Twitter Cards from their app, so that Twitter cannot show the images embedded in the tweet.
Here is an example of a tweet of a photo sent via Instagram now:
Screen shot of my latest article on fixing Twitter integration of Instagram instagr.am/p/TN0iypsoCT/
— Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme) December 14, 2012
Fix #1 – Browser Extension
If you want to see your friend’s Instagram photos in Twitter, then your best fix is to install a browser extension. Lifehacker recommend a Chrome Extension called InstaTwit, but I’ve been using an alternative for many months now called Parrotfish from embed.ly.
By downloading this Chrome Extension you can see embedded content from all your Tweets including Instagram, but also a huge range of other services including Tumblr, Viddler, ESPN, CNN, Last.fm, Band Camp and Facebook.
Once you have installed it, you will be able to see not just the Instagram photos from yourself and your friends, but also embedded content from your favourite news websites and social networks.
Fix #2 – Using IFTTT
The problem with only using the above fix is that it is relying on you actually installing the extension. If you want your Instagram photos to be more visible to your Twitter audience then you can’t rely on people installing an extension.
Now, every time you want to share your Instagram photo to Twitter and ensure the photo is embedded in all its glory, you just need to add #twitter to the end of the description.
So, what are your thoughts on this? Are you ok with Instagram removing Twitter Cards? Would you use any of the above techniques? Let me know in the comments below.