It’s hard to believe that Instagram has been on this planet for four years now. Remember when it was just “another start-up” — a twinkle in some enterprising Bay Area bro’s eye? Now it’s a full-blown toddler with over 200 million users. They grow up so fast.
Even though Instagram was worth $750 million by the time it was three years old, it still hit all the same developmental milestones as any other toddler.
Ages zero to one year: Welcome to the world, Insta-baby! At this early stage in life, the focus was just on feeding — which in this case meant filling up with users and photos. It was still too soon for anybody to really understand what Instagram’s purpose would be; babylike, it was a beautiful blank slate. Was it supposed to be like Facebook? Pinterest? Can I put pictures of my butt here?
Even CEO Kevin Systrom was a little bit confused about what makes an appealing Instagram. His first post:
Age two: Instagram hits the terrible twos, an id-driven time that involves a lot of temper tantrums and an intense focus on the self. This manifested in both the ability to buy and sell drugs via Instagram photos, and — most important — the rise of the #selfie and the duckface, etc.
Age three: At this age, children must begin asserting control over their surroundings. In Instagram’s third year, video and Instadirect were introduced, giving users the chance to separate from Vine and Snapchat. This is also when children become aware of the concept of personal success and failure, otherwise known as FOMO, which became increasingly recognized as an Instagram-induced phenomenon.
Age four: The Insta-toddler continues to become more self-aware as it enters the fourth year. This developmental milestone coincides with Instagram’s increased editing options, like all the luxe editing tools and the rise of the white border. At this stage, Instagram is also becoming aware of gender differences — and cooties? — as evidenced by a certain discomfort with girls.
We can’t wait to watch as Instagram develops into a rebellious sex-obsessed preteen that finally embraces nudity in photos.