Turns out all that talk about Hurricane Sandy being a watershed moment for Instagram wasn’t just hot air. Users snapped 800,000 pics tagged with #Sandy, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said Monday. (The actual total, according to the app itself: 789,266.)
The second most popular hashtag, we noticed, was #hurricanesandy, attached to 478,925 pics. #Frankenstorm was on 48,000 more. Total it all up, not counting the dozens of minor Sandy related hashtags (or rather, assuming that they balance out the double- and triple-hashtagged pictures, and all the Sandy shots not hashtagged in the heat of the moment) and you get 1.3 million.
At peak times, users were uploading 10 storm-related photos to the service every second.
Any way you slice it, the Sandy-tagged total dwarfs anything else Instagram users have covered. There were 85,000 pics with the hashtag #SuperBowl earlier this year, Systrom told the GigaOm Road Map conference in San Francisco. It was “likely the most digitally captured event in history,” he said.
The company’s next challenge, according to Systrom: “How do we mine all these photos, make sense of them so you can consume the most interesting photos about Sandy?” That, he concluded, was why Instagram was going to “have to become a big data company.” It also might one day use smart analysis of those pictures — allowing you to locate, say, open gas stations near you.
As for the rumors that Twitter is preparing an Instagram-like set of photo filters for pics posted to the service? Systrom shrugged it off, denying it was a threat. “Instagram is a community, not a filters app,” he said.
How do you see Instagram evolving from this point? Is it a community, a form of journalism, a treasure trove of data, or all of the above? Let us know in the comments.
Image courtesy of Instagram, aarmita